With the 15th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks days away, one Texas mattress store exercised bizarre judgment in posting an online ad for a “Twin Tower” sale that ended with the collapse of two twin mattress “towers”.
“What better way to commemorate 9/11 than with a Twin Tower sale?,” asks San Antonio Miracle Mattress store owner Cherise Bonanno in the commercial. The premise is that every size mattress will be on sale for the price of a “twin.”
Behind Bonanno stand two males in front of “twin” mattress stacks, visually reminiscent of the formerly standing World Trade Center towers. Bonanno’s jubilation in the ad leads her to fling her arms outwards, knocking down the two men. They fall backwards into the mattresses, which topple over, simulating the collapse of the Twin Towers. One of faux towers had an American flag at the top. Bonanno feigns anguish while the mattresses crash down. The commercial ends with her tongue-in-cheek phrase: “We’ll never forget.”
The company pulled down the video but it is on YouTube.
Irate people from around the country flooded the mattress company’s Facebook page with a clear message of disgust. Many slammed Miracle Mattress for its insensitivity and utter lack of common sense. One Facebooker wrote: “There will never be an appropriate time to mock 9/11 and to do it to promote mattress sales?! Are you kidding me?”
Another said: “A sale to commemorate an attack on our country??? This is like having a sale to commemorate the attack on Pearl Harbor!”
Mattress store vendor National Event Marketing (NEM) pulled its rooftop promotional inflatable off the San Antonio location and posted about it on Facebook. NEM called it despicable “to capitalize on the tragic events of 9/11,” and disrespectful to U.S. military veterans.
On Thursday, the company apologized more than once. First, they tweeted: “We are very sorry we have offended you.” They said that was not their intention. “Our staff is full of military and some relatives have passed away due to 9/11. We are promoters of peace and love.”
To all of those who have seen our 9/11 sale. We are very sorry we have offended you. Our intentions were not to… https://t.co/gXIifffIjp
— Miracle Mattress (@MiracleMattress) September 8, 2016
Miracle Mattress owner Mike Bonanno also issued an apology on the Houston corporate office letterhead “to all the victims and families of 9/11.” He described the ad as “crude” and said it was posted on Facebook without his knowledge or corporate approval. Bonanno did not say if it was posted or ran anywhere else. He promised to hold his employees accountable for their “serious lapse of decency.”
He stated, “I say this unequivocally, with sincere regret: the video is tasteless and an affront to the men and women who lost their lives on 9/11. Furthermore, it disrespects the families who lost their loved ones and continue to struggle with the pain of this tragedy every day of their lives.”
Another apology came from Cherise Bonanno. She spoke to WOAI, admitting she had no idea the ad would create such an overwhelmingly negative response. Remorsefully, she stated: “It was a stupid idea that we sent out. We apologize for our stupidity and we really hope that you forgive us for what we have done.”
Some who posted comments online were not sold on the apologies. According to WOAI, the store closed Thursday alleging they received death threats. Miracle Mattress since said they will have their weekend sale but it will no longer be “twin tower” related. The company also noted it will donate 30 percent of sale proceeds to the 9/11 Foundation.
Miracle Mattress announced Friday afternoon it will close its San Antonio store “indefinitely” following intense backlash over its 9/11 styled “twin tower” advertisement that ran online as part of a mattress sale campaign to “commemorate” 9/11.
Owner Mike Bonanno posted a letter on the company’s Facebook page advising the San Antonio store will close “effective immediately.”
Bonanno wrote: “Effective immediately, our Miracle Mattress store will be closed indefinitely. We will be silent through the 9/11 anniversary to avoid any further distractions from a day of recognition and remembrance for the victims and their families. We take full responsibility for our actions and sincerely regret the hurt and pain caused by this disrespectful advertising campaign.”
He stated the company will “deliver a public statement next week highlighting accountability actions taken within the company.” He added: We will also describe our plans to offer support for the 9/11 Memorial and victims fund.”
“There is little we can do to take away the hurt we have caused, but we can begin with silence through the Anniversary and then do our best to follow up with actions that reflect the seriousness of our mistake.”
He said “several fake social media accounts” were “created in an attempt to attack commenters and those expressing outrage.” Bonanno wanted the public to know “Miracle Mattress, its ownership and its employees will not be engaging in any personal attacks or responses on any social media platform.”
Bonanno stated any official comments or statements on behalf of the company will come directly from him.
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