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  • 1. Ryan McConnell ryan.mcconnell@thefuturescompany.com September 13, 2011Why you should let the moment passThe mistake of marketing around tragic eventsThe Bottom Line Marketing efforts around politically charged events or human tragedies run a high risk of being perceived as crass, exploitative or disrespectful. Its almost always a better strategy to let the moment pass without comment.At the Root Cynicism about business motives "Business as usual" amid Consumers want brands that align remains high tragedy violates social norms with their values 67% agree, "If the opportunity arises, 79% agree, "Business is too 74% agree, "I appreciate it when most businesses will take advantage of concerned with profits and not enough companies make it clear what they the public if they feel they are not likely with public responsibility." 2 stand for and stay true to their values." 3 to be found out." 1Making the Case What do the Arab Spring, Japanese tsunami and the 10-year anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks have in common? For too many companies this year, the answer has been the marketing opportunity these events present for their product or service. Even when executed with the best of intentions, many of these efforts have backfired and been perceived as exploitative or disrespectful. Why? For one, in an environment featuring a deficit of fairness and a surplus of economic Lieb Family Cellars 9/11 Wine anxiety, consumers are scrutinizing the motives of business like never before and are thus less likely to view a tongue-in-cheek tweet with the humor it was intended. Equally important, though, is the fact that these events are often viewed as sacred and thus subject to social norms and not market norms. In such situations, adding even the implied element of profit into the equation can feel like a violation of decency. Like a salesman passing out his business card at a funeral, its almost always a bad idea. Kenneth Coles tweet during the Egyptian uprising
  • 2. Taking Action Remember: The risk often exceeds Do good for goodness sake Provide oversight to social media the reward The chance of long-term brand damage If you believe you must involve yourself Recent major PR blunders have far exceeds the short-term gains these in a high-profile event or tragedy, act in occurred on social media sites such as high-profile events present. a genuinely altruistic way. Give 100% Twitter. Dont let the summer intern of your profits to the cause, not just damage the brand; provide clear 10%. standards for what is and what is not appropriate. Whats your take on marketing around tragic events? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page!Case StudyMarketing around the Japanese earthquake and tsunami1 Source: 2011 Yankelovich MONITOR; vs. 32% agree, "With minor exceptions, the honesty and integrity of businesses in their dealings with the public is ata very high level."2 Source: 2011 Yankelovich MONITOR3 Source: 2011 Global MONITOR, US Sample © 2011 by The Futures Company