When I saw social media buzzing about a supposedly offensive 9/11-themed commercial that some mattress company in San Antonio, Texas, aired, I just assumed that people were being overly-sensitive special snowflakes again. Every day, people—especially those of the coddled millennial generation—are apoplectic and rolling around on the floor upset about something. “Hurt feelings” is now a chronic and pathological condition for just about everyone under 35, soon to replace baseball as the unfortunate national pastime.
But then I watched it.
Here is the commercial, if you haven’t seen it. I warn you that it’s a product of truly demented minds. Everyone who participated in the creation of this tone-deaf offense to common decency should be ashamed.
For those who don’t want to be horrified but are curious about what makes this Miracle Mattress commercial so detestable, here’s a summary:
- The ad is narrated by a large woman who says, “What better way to remember 9/11 than with a Twin Tower sale?” She and two co-workers are smiling as they stand in front of two large stacks of mattresses.
- At this point, I’m thinking that people have overreacted and that this isn’t so bad, as the theme of the commercial is “twin prices” for “twin mattresses” and they’ve only stacked the mattresses like towers, riffing on the word “Twin Towers.” At this point, the ad is a little insensitive, but I was not made to feel like I was going to vomit yet. (Emphasis on the yet.)
- Then, the large woman in the center throws out her arms and the two men behind her get knocked backward … and the men fall into the stacks of mattresses, causing them to collapse.
- The woman and the two men then scream. At this point, everything went into slow motion for me as my brain was piecing together the fact that THEY REALLY DID THIS…THEY REALLY MADE LIGHT OF THE TWIN TOWERS COLLAPSING.
- The mattress towers collapse and the large woman shrieks and says, “Oh my God! Oh my God!” Then she giggles. And the two men in the heap of mattresses giggle.
- The woman then smiles and says, “We’ll never forget.” There. Are. No. Words.
This mattress company really went on camera and mocked the worst tragedy of our generation, where nearly 3,000 Americans were murdered with jet planes that were commandeered and transformed into missiles…to sell mattresses. Yuck.
Miracle Mattress in San Antonio thought the murder of 3,000 of our fellow Americans was funny. San Antonio is not that far away from Dallas. I cringe wondering what Miracle Mattress did for its President’s Day sale. Did previous commercials involve showing JFK having his head blown off in a mattress store as the same large woman intoned, “We’ll never forget”?
I hope business schools from this day forward use Miracle Mattress as an example of a brand failure, a company that destroyed itself with one 21-second commercial. Not long after the commercial aired, Miracle Mattress issued a press release saying that it was closing its store indefinitely. While the apology should never have had to happen since this commercial should never have been made, at least the company had the decency to issue one.
While it’s okay to be angry about this, because it was truly distasteful, it doesn’t help anyone to be sending hate mail to the wrong place (or even to Miracle Mattress, for that matter). America needs to relearn how to write a scathing letter that expresses outrage without using death threats and profanity. I blame the public schools. One Facebook commenter expressed her concern that people are missing the real outrage.