Don't Use Tragedy to Sell

The last time I wrote about this topic, I wrote about how mass shootings result in increases in gun sales. This time, we’re talking about the Boston Marathon. Epicurious, a site “for people who love to eat”, committed one of the seven social media sins following the tragic bombings that occurred at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday.

“Boston, our hearts are with you. Here’s a bowl of breakfast energy we could all use to start today.”

That was a tweet linking to a recipe the morning after the tragedy. Really?

When are companies going to learn that it’s never going to be a good idea to use a tragedy as an opportunity to market to people.

Take it as a rule: trying to capitalize off of a tragedy will always hurt more than it helps.

You’re going to get yourself into a PR nightmare. You will have to fire someone ‘responsible’ for the incident. You will have to publicly apologize, drawing more attention to how ridiculous and insensitive your call to action was.

Some companies are in the very lucky (thought maybe uncomfortable) position to capitalize when bad things happen. But that happens without marketing.