Texas mattress store closes after posting controversial 9/11 advert

Ad ended with two members of staff falling screaming into two towers of mattresses

Feliks Garcia
New York
Saturday 10 September 2016 06:48 BST
Mattress company sparks outrage with 9/11 advert

A Texas mattress retailer will close "indefinitely" following a controversy with an advertisement promoting its “Twin Tower” sale in honour of the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Staff of Miracle Mattress in San Antonio posted a video to Facebook to highlight the weekend sale, offering any size mattress for the price of a twin, or single.

“What better way to remember 9/11 than with a Twin Tower sale,” store manager Cherisse Bonanno said before two other employees fall backwards into a two stacks of mattresses that resembled the World Trade Centre's Twin Towers.

“We'll never forget,” Ms Bonanno says after the fall.

The video went viral on multiple social media channels Thursday evening. By Friday afternoon, the store's doors had been shuttered with a note announcing its indefinite closure, San Antonio Express-News reported.

“Effective immediately, our Miracle Mattress store will be closed indefinitely,” storeowner Mike Bonanno said in the letter. “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.”

The store had issued an apology Friday morning.

“We are very sorry we have offended you,” the company said in a now deleted statement on Facebook. “Our intentions were not to hurt anyone at all. Our staff is full of military and some relatives have passed away due to 9/11.”

Mr Bonanno said the video was posted the the location’s Facebook page without the permission of the Houston-based corporate office.

“I say this unequivocally, with sincere regret: the video is tasteless and an affront to the men and women who lost their lives on 9/11,” he said, adding that the company will review its marketing strategy.

The controversy comes days after a Florida Walmart location dismantled a display of Coca-Cola products arranged to illustrate the Twin Towers. Store management did not realise it would offend people until a photo of the arrangement spread through Twitter.

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“We stopped and stared at it like, ‘Oh my God,’” Shawn Richard, who photographed the display, told BuzzFeed. “Nobody seemed to be noticing it, it wasn’t very crowded, and I got the feeling that it had just been assembled.”

Outrage over the two adverts marks another chapter highlighting the seemingly annual struggles of brands and companies to capitalise on the deadliest terrorist attack on US soil, that claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 people.

In 2013, AT&T tweeted out an image featuring a hand holding a smartphone against the New York City skyline – the 9/11 memorial Tribute in Light appeared in the screen in place of the Twin Towers.

The tweet was up for an hour before the company removed it after Twitter users lashed out at the telecommunications company.

Although the AT&T sent out a second tweet with an apparent apology, but many users felt it was disingenuous.

“We apologise to anyone who felt our post was in poor taste,” they said in the tweet. “The image was solely meant to pay respect to those affected by the 9/11 tragedy."

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