This day in age, we are all, hopefully, aware of the impact social media has on our lives and the benefits of using platforms for personal and business purposes. Social media campaigns can be done well or fail miserably, and the PR professionals of an organization are usually called upon to help discern the best approach to certain audiences and demographics.
I recently discovered possibly the worst social media fail of this year, which involved a San Antonio, TX business called Miracle Mattress. CBS New York covered the story, which surfaced prior to the fifteenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack. The store posted a video on Facebook promoting their “Twin Tower Sale,” and the backlash received caused the removal of the video, as well as the closing of the store for days due to death threats from the public.
In the video, employees of Miracle Mattress described how customers could purchase any mattress for the usual price of a twin mattress. At the end, two employees fell backwards into two towers of mattresses representing the destruction of the Twin Towers. The main woman in the video screamed, “oh my God,” then looked at the camera and stated, “we’ll never forget.”
Anyone could see how offensive this video is for the people that lived through or had family members that perished in the devastating attack on 9/11, and the public made sure that the mattress store knew how outraged they were with comments on the business’s Facebook page. After the deletion of the video, a public apology was issued by the store owner and posted on the Facebook page. This was not enough for the public however, and people are still commenting on the page about their disgust of the company.
I have learned from this social media fail just how important PR professionals are to organizations. I am almost positive that this incident would not have happened if there was a PR employee approving all posts.
While the idea to create such an offensive video about a tragic day in history seems like common sense to most of us not to do, this business is not the only one who has posted content undesirable and offensive to the public. I understand that in-the-moment decisions are sometimes made, but having a strategic plan for social media use in an organization is necessary to prevent situations that harm the image and brand of a company, such as Miracle Mattress.