Let me start out by saying that the Boston Marathon bombings were a horrific act of terrorism and cowardice. My hopes and prayers are with the victims. And I hope that the Powers That Be find and bring the perpetrators to justice swiftly.
That said, I want to take a moment and switch gears a bit, to talk about how businesses are supposed to operate in times of national crisis such as what happened in Boston. When the bombings happened, social media lit up as it should have. Over 70-percent of the population now gets their news from social media.
But, some social media advertisers were caught off-guard with their pre-scheduled, automated Twitter and Facebook ads running, that because of the timing of those ads seemed insensitive and inappropriate given the current national circumstances.
For instance, I was reading this Search Engine Watch article which mentioned that a company called Epicurious ran some distasteful, opportunistic food ads shortly after the bombings. One ad said, “Boston, our hearts are with you. Here’s a bowl of breakfast energy we could all use to start today.” The company has since retracted the ads and apologized by being insensitive.
Other businesses already had policies in place which included don’t comment on natural or man-made disasters, pull all advertising for x amount of time and/or be out front and helpful but DO NOT be opportunistic.
Because of social media, the initial info about the Boston Marathon bombings came fast and furious. Many people were in shock, trying to sort out the information from the misinformation. And this was also a time for businesses to be plugged in, respectful, sensitive and hopefully helpful as well.