The Top 5 Worst Hurricane Marketing Fails

One of the strongest hurricanes in recent history is headed for the East Coast. We can only hope that people don’t use Irma as a way of promoting their brand like marketers did during Hurricane Sandy. While some businesses prepared for the storm to ensure safety and survival, others used the storm as a marketing tool. Using a natural disaster as a marketing tool is not exactly the brightest idea and it certainly has its consequences. In 2012, businesses took advantage of Hurricane Sandy by using it as a reason to have a sale or to promote shopping their brand. Those sad attempts at marketing failed miserably. Here are the top 5 hurricane marketing fails during Hurricane Sandy:

  1.    American Apparel

First off, most people didn’t have power during the storm…so how were they even going to get on the internet to shop? I doubt many people saw this advertisement anyway because I am sure they were too busy ensuring their safety and survival. Second, how did this even seem like a good idea? Using a hurricane as a reason to have a sale was your first mistake but limiting it to the few states that were affected by the storm was the worst mistake of all. People affected by Sandy were trying to save their money for food, water and basic survival gear. A better idea would have been to donate a percentage of sales to those affected to help them get back on their feet.

  1.    Urban Outfitters

I don’t think I even have to explain this one… This was just wrong.

  1.    Jonathan Adler

So, if your thoughts are with all in the affected areas, why didn’t you offer your help to them instead of offering free shipping on your site. Worst of all, you tried to lighten the situation with some humor. “Storm our site.” Really? Very insensitive.

  1.    Sear’s

This was just careless, Sears. It could have been so easy to promote your brand. All you had to do was donate clothes or tools to those in need! I mean, something would have been better than nothing! You carry plenty of items that could have helped those affected, but you chose to tell people (with no way of getting to your stores) to come and get what they need instead of coming to them.

  1.    GAP

Okay, GAP. This is just a little inconsiderate. People were kind of in the middle of surviving a Category 3 hurricane and you’re asking them if they are going to indulge in some online shopping? Really? I have a feeling the brilliant person who came up with this idea may have faced some serious consequences.

Just a little tip for those of you with businesses…please don’t follow in their footsteps and make the same mistake they did. Learn from them and do something positive, like offering your help to those in need instead of trying to promote your brand.

-Emily Holt