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1. In 2013, this sign from the Marriott hotel chain was posted to Twitter, enraging many. The location of the offending hotel was believed to be in the San Diego area but was otherwise never disclosed. The corporate giant hotel released the following statement when the photo went viral: “We are aware of the picture that was tweeted. It shows an offer that was made independently by the hotel and not the Marriott Hotels brand. As far as we know, it was limited to one property. While the hotel was making a sympathetic gesture to its guests in remembrance of 9/11, we apologize and understand why some people may have misunderstood the intent of the offer. We are reminding our hotels to use discretion and be sensitive when remembering major events such as 9/11.”
2. What was it about this 2015 cheerleading squad's 9/11 tribute performance that polarized opinion online after footage of the routine went viral? While some viewers have taken it in the spirit that it was intended, others have branded the performance "tasteless" and "cringeworthy."
The cheerleaders are seen performing their routine to "God Bless the USA" as audio from the first news reports of the attacks on that fateful day is played. The Lumberton, Texas high school squad had been doing the cheer since 2002, but the video didn't go viral until 2015, and that's when the backlash commenced.
3. In 2015, a Vienna baker stirred up anger with a cake depicting Austria's main political parties as New York's twin towers coming under attack from opposition party aircraft.
Creator Thomas Kienbauer defended his work, saying it represented legitimate political commentary. He was inspired by the fact that the attacks on the World Trade Center towers by Islamist militants using hijacked aircraft took place on September 11, 2001 (9/11). Vienna local elections took place Oct. 11 (10/11) 2015. The cake is supposed to represent the collapse of the "grand coalition." That may be the case, but it's still pretty tasteless.
4. A virtual reality app that lets users experience the 9/11 attacks from the perspective of a worker inside the World Trade Center has received plenty of criticism, but according to the makers it was not made to be "obscene or sensationalist."
"In the team, we are all in our twenties," Anthony Krafft, a student at the French school where the game was created, said. "And 9/11, on a global scale, changed as much our social interactions as our geopolitical context." The team wanted to take on a historical event, and to "remind (everyone) that 9/11 was, for the victims, first and foremost a workday like every other workday."
"It was essential to us to be accurate, as we could never be obscene or sensationalist out of respect for the victims," he said. Sorry, but we still think it's pretty weird overall.
5. You missed a big opportunity to own this "cheesy" souvenir. A USA-shaped platter featuring hearts where the planes hit on 9/11, was pulled from the National September 11 Memorial Museum's gift shop in 2014. From that point forward, 9/11 victims' family members who sit on the foundation's board were asked to approve items sold at the site — and with good reason!
6. The above tasteless ad surfaced days before the eighth anniversary of the attack in 2009 when it won a merit award from The One Club, a nonprofit that promotes "excellence" in advertising — but the World Wildlife Fund said it was never approved.
The ad showed dozens of planes diving at lower Manhattan with the tagline: "The tsunami killed 100 times more people than 9/11. The planet is brutally powerful. Respect it. Preserve it." It was presented by ad men from DDB Brazil to the WWF and quickly rejected. Somehow, the rejected ad made it online and WWF — the world's largest conservation group — started getting calls from outraged members.
DDB Brazil apologized and fired the marketing team who came up with the offending ad.
7. Universal ridicule was the name of the game for this tasteless 9/11 display in a Panama City Beach, Florida Walmart. The display featured cases of soda shaped like the World Trade Center buildings with an American flag behind them to entice customers to buy the soft drink as the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks approaches.
After the public outcry, the display was removed. Walmart spokesman Charles Crowson said Coke shares its display ideas with Walmart and apparently approved this one.
8. What were they thinking? Texas-based retailer Miracle Mattress sparked public outrage after it aired a commercial promoting its “Twin Tower sale,” which ended with a pair of employees toppling over two towers of mattresses, days before the 15th anniversary of 9/11.
Many lashed out at the company, calling their promotion offensive and saying Miracle Mattress should go out of business over the ad. For the record, the company released the following apology: “Our intentions were not to hurt anyone at all. Our staff is full of military, and some relatives have passed away due to 9/11. We are promoters of peace and love. We have given abundantly to our community here in San Antonio and wish to remain known as a company who respects and loves others. We hope you find it in your hearts to forgive us.”
9. Tumbledown Trails golf course claimed it was trying to do the right thing when it offered a special 9/11 discount to golfers in Verona, Wisconsin, but instead received a ton of online ire for the above ad. The ad offered the discount on a round of golf — 9 holes for $9.11, good for only one day. Yikes! They clearly went about their tribute in the wrong way, and wrath was incurred, which led to their taking their Facebook page down and almost closing their business for good.
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