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  • Rachel Patterson

Ill-Worded Advertisement leads to impersonal apology

A Bloomingdale’s holiday advertisement caused a scandal in late 2015 by demonstrating a lack of communication and lack of foresight on how it would be received by their clients. The ad, which featured a sharply dressed man gazing at a woman whose head is turned in laughter, would have been acceptable if it were not for the tagline. “Spike your best friend’s eggnog when they’re not looking”. Many consumers were “sickened and shocked” by the ad’s suggestive text. It was called out by many on social media for encouraging date rape and perpetuating society’s long held idea of rape culture.

The company apologized in an all too generic tweet that people found to be stoic and lacking sensitivity to the issue created by the Bloomingdale’s team. While they were correct in addressing the issue quickly, it was too impersonal to be taken seriously by most consumers. One could argue that creating more press would only bring more negative attention to the brand, but as the Public Relations Society of America states, “it is better to over report than under report.”

In the event that a crisis happens, a company must have a plan of action set in place for how to connect its consumers with a sincere idea of apology, explanation, or action. The ad, which was in very poor taste, had to be approved by several chains of command, thus making the company look worse than if only one person had made a poor decision. A better way to respectfully resolve the crisis would be to tweet a more personal apology that goes beyond “we are sorry and working on it.” A publicly stated apology from the CEO or executive marketing director would show consumers that the company is more sincere in addressing complaints and issues seriously. While it would not ease consumer’s worries instantly, it would create an atmosphere that is inviting and innovating.

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