AT&T was one of many brands tweeting about 9/11 on the 12th anniversary. This tweet was quickly deleted after Twitter responded with outrage.

The Lakers tweeted out a photo of Kobe Bryant, with the hashtag #neverforget. One Twitter user asked what we were all wondering: never forget what, exactly? This tweet was also deleted.

Along the same lines, Marriott decided 9/11 was a good reason to provide complimentary coffee and mini muffins, but only for a half-hour, which makes you wonder why they did anything at all.

The Starkville Daily News put out a poorly timed promotion today, offering a $9.11 monthly subscription. We called the paper, which confirmed the promo, and a spokesperson said it hadn't received any reactions.

And then there's this, because nothing says "Never Forget" quite like hundreds of bags of Pretzel Crisps arranged to resemble the American flag.

What Not To Do On 9/11, Starring AT&T, The $9.11 Newspaper Deal, Others

Today, AT&T posted a commemorative tweet to honor the victims of 9/11 that also happened to prominently feature a BlackBerry Z10.

It's safe to assume disguising a smartphone sell as a 9/11 commemorative tweet is in poor taste. Unfortunately, AT&T didn't get the memo before it posted this photo with the caption "Never forget" to both its corporate Twitter account and Facebook page Wednesday afternoon:

AT&T removed the BlackBerry Z10's branding in the photo, but within minutes a maelstrom of angry tweets began pouring, in scorning the company for its decision to post. As of press time, the photo remains on the brand's Facebook page, where it has garnered both criticism and support:

AT&T posted an apology shortly after deleting the original tweet:

And AT&T isn't the only brand to have caused offense today. (For a running list branded 9/11 tweets, follow the comedian @JoeMande, who is keeping a running tally), or in the case of the Los Angeles Lakers, confusion. The Lakers' social media team posted this slightly confusing photo of Kobe Bryant with the hashtag #NEVERFORGET, which has also since been deleted:

We have put in a request for comment to AT&T and will update this post if we hear back.

Update: An AT&T spokesperson responded to our request for comment offering the same text of the company's apology tweet.

[Image: AT&T]

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6 Comments

  • Michelle Mastro

    I guess this post itself is kind of ironic. Fast Company is also capitalizing on the 9/11 trend with a "What Not To Do On 9/11" article...

  • Bubba J

    That's actually AT&T's standard convention for social posts.  Real life photography in the background - in the foreground the phone shows an image that's different in some way.

    Here they showed the lights of remembrance over the new tower.  Not offensive.

    But some people aren't intelligent enough to see trends and instead look to respond in a shallow fashion to get a reaction.  Nice work supporting that shallow reaction with your equally shallow reporting.

  • Ellie Mac

    That they used their standard convention - "real life photography in the background - in the foreground the phone..." - is exactly why this is offensive. By inserting the phone into the image of the memorial, they are inserting their BRANDING into that image. If they had simply wanted to memorialize the tragic events and the victims, they should have simply shown the skyline with the lights, leaving their brand out of the photo completely. It's tacky because it is saying more than just "AT&T would like to remember the victims of this tragic attack." It is saying. "AT&T would like to remember the victims of this tragic attack while showing off our new product."

  • Bubba J

    I respect your subjective opinion.  But, regardless of how new you are to their social channel, AT&T's visual language has been this way for a while.  This wasn't a shot showcasing a new product feature - and if you interpreted it that way - then I assume this is the first time you've seen a smartphone. 

    There are so many things to be outraged about in this world.  This is not one of them.

  • ericdrowell

    It seems as if the people who are offended by the post don't realize that AT&T isn't promoting anything at all, because only the people who are following the company on Twitter and Facebook even see the post.  It's not like it was used in a TV commercial to try and get business.

    Go spend your energy on something productive, instead of complaining about nonsense.