September 30, 2016
We’ve said it before, and we’re sure we’ll say it again: marketing is best left to the professionals. As a small business owner, it’s easy to justify doing it all yourself since funds are limited and enlisting an advertising agency isn’t free. But the benefits of seeking out an expert far exceed the cost. Take Miracle Mattress’s recent marketing disaster, for instance. The San Antonio company recently drew an overwhelming amount of backlash from the public over its insensitive promotional ad for a 9/11 sale.
The video which sparked widespread controversy was created to announce a sale which was doomed to be offensive from the get-go. The sale in question was to be held on the 15th anniversary of 9/11, and the company hoped to draw in customers by selling mattresses of all sizes for the price of a twin. We’re sure you see the obvious connection they had hoped to make. However, it’s the video that truly had people outraged. In the video (which out of respect for the victims of 9/11 we have decided not to link to), the store’s manager speaks to the camera, with two employees and two stacks of twin-size mattresses behind her. She announces the sale excitedly, waving her arms as she does so, at which point the men behind her fall backwards into the stacks of mattresses. The stacks fall while the owner screams playfully, and the video ends with her turning back to the camera and saying, “we will never forget.” The parody was rightfully blasted online on a national level for being insensitive. This is what is called a marketing disaster, a public relations nightmare, and a sure way to go out of business.
The Difference a Professional Makes
It’s clear for anyone to see why this tongue-in-cheek “humor” would backfire. While that’s arguably true for most Americans, the fact is that it’s easy for a few individuals who lack a background in advertising to take a poor idea, deemed it original, and run with it. Miracle Mattress is proof of this, and the fiasco can be tied directly to the business handling its own marketing without consulting experts. Even marketers make mistakes, but we can confidently say that had such an idea been brought to just about anyone in the industry, it would have been dismissed immediately. Those who have experience in analyzing the target audiences of businesses and producing promotional materials that encapsulate what a certain group values are key for avoiding these scenarios. Not to mention, the quality of the offensive video would have been far better — but that’s a topic for another post. Now, the company has likely had to seek out public relations professionals to handle the crisis. The owner of the chain of mattress stores (also the father of the store’s manager), immediately issued a well-crafted letter demonstrating this likelihood, expressing remorse and announcing that 30 percent of the proceeds from the sale would benefit victims of 9/11. He later said that the chain would be closing its doors indefinitely, but has already since announced plans to reopen after hiring new staff and conducting training. Had this business enlisted a full-service marketing agency from the start, it wouldn’t be facing criticism which could potentially lead to its end. Even if the video had gone out without the agency’s input, a public relations professional on its staff would have surely been on top of the situation to lessen the blow. Time will tell what the future holds for that company, but its a lesson other small businesses can certainly learn from.
If you’re wondering how our full-service South Florida advertising agency can help your business, call us today for a free consultation. Don’t let your business be the next example of poor marketing.