It is often said "All publicity is good publicity, as long
as they spell your name right." To a certain extent that quote
is true. Good publicity could be a quick and cheap way to build
brand awareness and promote any business. Unfortunately the same
cannot be said for bad publicity. One company has recently learnt
the hard way that being in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons
could undo a lifetime of building and developing a good brand and
reputation, and in some cases, that damage may be unfixable.
Miracle Mattress, a company based in San Antonia, Texas, drew
outrage and widespread condemnation in the wake of their 2016
"9/11 Twin Towers Sale."
A YouTube clip for the promotion was posted across the
company's social media channels. The clip features two stacks
of mattresses which are knocked over when employees fall into them
while a woman screams before she looks into the camera and says
"We'll never forget."
The clip "commemorated" the 15-year anniversary of the
terror atrocity in which 2,606 people lost their lives on 11
The internet backlash was fast and ferocious with thousands
taking to their keyboards to condemn the company's actions.
Miracle Mattress was quick to respond with this candid letter
from the business owner:
Social media is far reaching. If something goes viral, it has a
far greater reach than just your customer base and it's a
shocking way to create a first impression and introduce your
business to the wider community; and,
Everything that your business promotes, says or does is a
reflection of the brand. As Mike said, this one misjudgment
undermines years of work that the company has dedicated to
What else can you take away from this?
Pick your spokesperson carefully
As we've said, everything that your business puts out into
the digital domain reflects its brand. While Miracle Mattress has
said that it will hire new staff and provide staff training, many
have asked why his daughter Cherise (the infamous screaming woman
in the clip) was placed in a position of marketing the company in
the first place if her approach does not align with theirs.
Actions speak louder than words
The company has continued its work in the community, giving
mattresses away for free to vulnerable members of the community,
and as the owner of the company, Mike has taken responsibility for
the social media misstep.
However, Cherise's continued appearance in promoting Miracle
Mattress is not going down well with online users:
Test it before you upload it
It goes without saying that you should have a well-defined media
strategy. As part of this you should have a process around
developing and reviewing any social media campaign. Key questions
to ask yourself include:
Does this align with my brand?
Could this be misinterpreted?
How do I want this campaign (and my business) to be
Test your campaign before you make it live so you can establish
whether the reaction that you receive is the one that you're
hoping for. If not, return to the drawing board. Also, you need to
remember that not everyone shares the same sense of humour so make
sure you test your campaign against a broader range of people than
your existing staff members.
Respond quickly but thoughtfully
Miracle Mattress responded quicky, with a well-considered letter
which was posted in full on their social media channels. If you are
unfortunate enough to experience a social media fail like this, it
is important that you address comments and feedback promptly
– even if it is a short one line to explain that you will be
responding in full within an allocated timeframe. Above all, be
authentic. Dismissing people's concerns will only damage your
Since the campaign, hundreds have flooded the Miracle Mattress
facebook page with one star reviews, photos of those who lost their
lives in 9/11 and calls to boycott the business. While the company
is still in operation, only time will tell if they will be able to
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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