Airport parking firm use man's death in marketing email

25 September 2014

You know how it is. You’re an eager young upstart graduate looking to make your mark in the cut throat world of marketing and advertising. Marketing 101 tells you to use current events as a hook to make your marketing materials more appealing. What Marketing 101 does not tell you, however, is that some things are just not suitable to be shoe horned into a marketing email. Like a man’s untimely death…

Unfortunately that is exactly what some bright spark at an airport parking company in the US did (no, we’re not going to name them and reward insensitivity with increased exposure), by emailing customers suggesting that the stress of checking in might have killed the man, in Chicago. The company, which operates at more than 85 airports in the US and Canada, sent out an email on Monday headed "Can on-airport parking kill?" and offered potential croakers parkers a cheery $5 off voucher, joking: "Don't be late and end up in a crate." Hilarious.

The marketing email stopped short of claiming that using their service could have prevented the death but did ponder whether the stress of the airport experience had killed the unidentified man "There could be many reasons for the cause of this man’s death, but based on the story one possible reason could be stress. The process of arriving to the airport, getting through security, and boarding the plane can be very stressful.”


Unsurprisingly, email recipients were less than impressed with the email, and the company was forced to apologise for causing "frustration and grief”, describing the email as an “unfortunate event”. Not as unfortunate as the poor man they thoughtlessly used though, eh?

"We would like to sincerely apologise for the last marketing email sent that has caused frustration and grief for our customers. We strive to provide our customers with the utmost service and respect; however, we fell short on this commitment," the company said.

"There is no excuse for the topic of the recent email sent to our customers, and we can only extend our deepest apologies to those disrespected by it.

"We have ensured that any marketing or communication sent from our company will not contain any sensitive or offensive content of that nature. We appreciate your continued business with us and apologize once again for this unfortunate event."

TOPICS:   Advertising

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