A Texas mattress store owner has shut up shop after a September 11 ad he produced did not go down well with Americans.
Miracle Mattress, a San Antonio-based company, has been the subject of severe backlash after a 21-second commercial it created featuring a “Twin Towers” sale failed to have the desired effect on its viewers. The advertisement, made in bad taste, shows two men asking the daughter of the store owner, Cherise Bonanno, about the “Twin Towers” sale — an obvious reference to the September 11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people — before ending with the two store employees screaming as they crash into two towers made of mattresses.
“What better way to remember 9/11 than the Twin Tower Sale?” cries out the store owner, who then looks into the camera and says, “we will never forget.”
The ad was made to mark 15 years of the September 11 tragedy, but instead of marking the day with poignancy, the absurdly offensive commercial ended up eliciting widespread anger and criticism. In the face of the growing embarrassment, Miracle Mattress owner Mike Bonnano pulled down the ad from all online video-sharing sites. However, San Antonio marketing expert Jamie Barrientos saved the ad and re-posted it on YouTube, according to The Huffington Post, where it has gone on to be viewed nearly five million times at the time of writing.
You can watch the commercial below.
Most people were left stunned by the insensitivity on display in the ad. Viewers not only chastised the blatant stupidity that was evident in the commercial, but said that Miracle Mattress must be held responsible for causing any distress to the family of the victims, reports NBC‘s San Antonio affiliate.
“You don’t see people making fun of Pearl Harbor, the Japanese attacked us, you don’t see people making fun of any war, so why would a terrorist attack on such monumental buildings ok?” one resident said.
“Please take a good hard look at yourselves and reevaluate what you think is ‘funny’. I’m glad you apologized, but that kind of ignorance is rooted somewhere deep. It seems that you need to be taught that 9/11 is not a joke or a marketing ploy, now or ever. TRAGEDY IS NOT FUNNY,” wrote a Yelp user.
As Washington Post reports, by Saturday morning, Miracle Mattress’ Google and Yelp pages were flooded with one-star reviews.
The severe backlash has prompted the owner of the store, Mike Bonnano, to come forward and issue an unconditional apology. Bonnano also said that the store will remain closed indefinitely, saying that the creators of the video will be held accountable for producing the ad.
“I am disgusted such a video would have been conceived as a promotional tool,” the founder wrote.
“And even more incensed it was created and posted on any social media site that represents Miracle Mattress. 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.”
Bonnano also said that the store will donate 30 percent of their sales this weekend to the 9/11 Foundation.
Miracle Mattress is closing its doors due to the backlash from their 9/11 ad. pic.twitter.com/KbgtFyGEXy
— Jamie Barrientos † (@barrientosjamie) September 9, 2016
Mike Bonnano’s daughter, Cherise, who was also the woman who featured in the ad, apologized for the “stupidity” of the idea, saying that she hoped that the American people would forgive her and her colleagues for conceiving the ill-advised promotional video.
“It was stupid. It was a stupid idea that we sent out, and we apologize for our stupidity, and we really hope you forgive us for what we’ve done.”
“We are not hate; we are love. We’re Miracle Mattress. We make miracles happen.”
Even so, Miracle Mattress’ Facebook page continues to be flooded with negative comments, but it is at least a step in the right direction for the store owners to have owned up to their mistake.
[Image via Jamie Barrientos/YouTube]