AT&T can't quite apologize for its tasteless 9/11 advertisement


It’s all about the product placement.

No apology forthcoming, however, for helping the NSA spy on us, for treating a white hat hacker like a terrorist, or for just being a shit company in general. But setting up their merchant table in the temple of the American God of Freedom, that’s going too far.


The whole city is a product placement.

Why is it that those of us who’d like to forget always get reminded that we can’t.

Why not? If we do will it happen again?


Can you explain what is so offensive here? Is it just because it’s product placement mixed with 9/11?


It’s not in great taste, but I doubt that their social media people meant anything bad by it. I’m not sure if “psychopathic” is a fair description…


I too am not sure about the offensiveness of the image. I also don’t really understand the image itself. Are we not going to forget because we’re taking a picture with this awesome AT&T phone?

I get why people don’t like seeing the twin towers evoked by some corporation’s marketing department, but there’s some pretty strong competition out there for “tasteless 9/11-themed advertising.”


“Never Forget” is a slightly nonsensical thing to say about 9/11. If I’m not mistaken the phrase was originally applied to the Holocaust, where it makes sense: “Never forget, (otherwise the conditions and attitudes that led to this might gradually come back and humanity will have another Holocaust.)” Since we apparently haven’t learned anything from the pre-9/11 foreign policies that got people pissed off enough to attack us, forgetting the event wouldn’t make much difference to the future.


I see what they were trying to do there but they should’ve known better.

Nothing magnifies a person’s lack of common sense more than Twitter. I’m sure the word “inappropriate” never came close to crossing the mind of the 22 year old tech savvy social media guru who sent out that tweet.

There’s such a thing as being overly sensitive. Such intolerance is itself an extremely negative force, and has led to lots of badness throughout human history. Ironically, 9/11 has been a catalyst for latent intolerance.

So I have to wonder:

  1. Is the objection that there’s a big AT&T logo, advertising AT&T’s cell phones and services? (doesn’t seem to be)


  1. Are we certain that their marketing people didn’t simply mean that this was a photo suitable for reflection and remembrance on 9/11?

Because while I can see where it might come off as tasteless, it doesn’t really seem to be an advertisement, and it strikes me that taking significant offense at a tacky tweet is pretty much the pot calling the kettle black. They’re a corporation. They’re big and stupid. Yet they bothered to remember the moment.

From where I sit, I’m more concerned by Rob’s post.


Heaven forbid they don’t cow-tow to the internet mob and its fickle sensitivities.

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It just occurred to me that if we never forget, then the terrorists have won, forever.


My impression is that it isn’t supposed to make sense in some intellectuals-and-their-fancy-book-learning sense of the term; but to be a demonstration of just how patriotic and 100% American you are in responding to the event. If keeping a running tally of the historic grievances and wrongs of Your People is patriotic (and, given how common this is among nationalism enthusiasts, and people who identify a…trifle… too closely with their ethnicity-as-identity, apparently it is) vowing to never forget is totally the most serious, and thus patriotic, type of grievance-nurturing you can vow to accomplish.

I’ve always found the thing sort of perverse, even in that sense, since it seems to make patriotism a sort of sick competition to see who can nurse a grudge longer, rather than who’s body politic is robust enough to shrug off historical injuries; but I may not be the target audience.


This wasn’t too clever, either.




9/11 changed everything. Even graphic design.


The real problem is that this is what America is now. We said it was okay for a corporation to make their brand known on the memorial of a national disaster when we signed a contract allowing them to do what they want. Just like on that same contract they made it very clear that they would be sharing our business with them to the NSA in turn. Corporations are people remember and this is just one person being patriotic.

… sad indeed what we’ve become.

Sadly, “Never Forget” is often used as shorthand justification for anything and everything done in the name of “national security”—whether that be attacking a nation that had nothing to do with 9/11 or just hating on Muslims in general.