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Monday
May232011

Wondering whether anyone is really paying attention to what they're doing: United Airlines at Ground Zero.

This is a pretty big faux pas.  

In my immediately previous post, I posed the question whether there were any Skechers execs with little girls--or nieces or  granddaughters--when they launch adversely sexualizing ad campaigns for some one or another of their footwear lines for teens and pre-teen girls with the tag line, "Make your bottom half better than your top half."  I raised the issue in passing as to whether anyone, really, was paying attention to what was being said or what the offer really implied.  

Well, the problem of failure by managers--frankly at a lot of levels--to fully engage in what they're doing turned up on my radar screen again today.  A colleague sent me the story I'm sharing today; it begs the question, could any collection of people work to produce a bigger, more public faux pas--even if they put their minds to doing exactly that--than this:  Posting a United Airlines advertisment at Ground Zero that says "You're going to like where we land."  

Time.com reported the details, which occured just days after United inadvertently re-instated the all but retired flight numbers of the 9/11 flights, 93, and 175.

What's so surprising to me is that these decisions are not the result of a single, misguided individual, but almost certainly involved a whole host of advertising and vendor managers and employees.  In the case of the lighted display at the prior site of the World Trade Center, there were sales people, signage firms, and placement intermediaries like the MTA that handled the specific site[s] that were involved in the actual placement of the United ads.  

Is this a really a good concept anywhere in NYC?

If you ask me, the slogan by United [of all airlines] "You're going to like where we land" is a risque promise to the greater metro New York area irregardless of whether it near Ground Zero or not!  This is exactly what stands to trigger that something that lies just below the conscious psyche of New Yorkers as a whole.  I'm really asking this question:  Why would the ad and marketing people decide that this was the right theme for the Greater New York area in the first place?  Did the creative people [and their directors and their execs] all run out of worthy promotional slogans or ad themes and were thrown back on this as the only theme to go with?  

It certainly looks like somebody was just going through the motions and, simply put, not engaged--from the creative people to the those individuals who installed the sign at the Cortland Street MTA station.  Isn't anybody paying attention?  
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