I thought long and hard about whether to write this post. But in the end, there’s definitely a lesson to be learned from reaction to the Boston Marathon bomb attack.

It’s this.

Trying to generate traffic when something like this happens is perhaps the most idiotic idea I’ve ever seen put into practise.

How ignorant, sociopathic and downright moronic do you need to be in order to view a (potential) terrorist attack as a marketing opportunity for your business?

Epicurious -Linking Dead Children to Scones Is Not Good Branding

There’s a series of tweets reported on by The Media Blog earlier this week that have caused some consternation (and outright revulsion) amongst my Twitter network:

Epicurious' tweets following the Boston attacks

Who signed off on this?

Someone at Epicurious, a recipe website of some repute, decided that they’d be able to generate some traffic with a set of tweets themed around the day’s big story.

That story, unless you’ve forgotten, was a tale of three dead and over 100 others injured. Many seriously.

I’m not going to comment on the morality of such a move. I’ll leave that to Tom Albrighton, who’s done a far better job:

Tom Albrighton's Tweet

What I will comment on is the absolute ridiculousness of this attempt to generate traffic. When you piggyback on a story or event, you create a link between what’s happening and your business in the minds of potential customers.

So why on earth would you try to form a link in your lead’s mind between breakfast and three people killed by a bomb?

That’s not just immoral. It’s idiotic.

So please. The next time something awful hits the news, please don’t try and turn it into a marketing opportunity. Because it’ll destroy your credibility, turn public opinion against you, and do other things that are the exact polar opposite of what good marketing is supposed to do.

No matter how strong the allure of those extra clicks is, it’s something that social marketers need to remember.



If you’d like to help those affected by events in Boston earlier this week, please visit The American Red Cross.



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