On the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks last year, a few brands saw an opportunity to show the world that they will never forget and they’ve got good hearts so next time you want something, think of them.
Hooters Girls smiled and informed us of their feelings. Best Buy sponsored good deeds in various cities across the land. NASCAR drivers and their fans had a moment of silence from laps 9 to 11 in Richmond, Virginia. Ten years ago, Budweiser had set a very high bar for 9/11 tie-ins. Its reverent 2002 Super Bowl commercial, which aired only once on broadcast television but has been seen more than six million times on YouTube since, certainly got the company a lot of notice at the time.
It can be risky to link your brand to a tragedy, of course. You don’t want to appear self-serving but you still want to show empathy, and for consumers to be left with the idea that what you did was a fitting tribute. And marketers hope the tribute is so fitting that consumers will remember their company’s name the next time the wallet is pulled out.
One effort, though, that doesn’t have to worry about looking like it is being self-serving are the folks who have made 9/11 into a National Day of Service. More Americans now volunteer on Sept. 11 than on any other day of the year, according to a news release.
Representatives for the nonprofit MyGoodDeed, which organizes the annual event, and Action America, an “open-source brand created to unite and activate Americans everywhere to turn the events of 9/11 into positive action” that was founded last year, as a press release states, kicked off the day this morning by ringing the opening bell on the New York Stock Exchange.
Big brands affiliated with the initiative to spur volunteerism and inspire a nation to become Actionists on 9/11 through good works include AOL and GlaxoSmithKline.
"The anniversary of 9/11 represents a moment in time where every American has a personal and emotional story," said Tim Armstrong, AOL Chairman and CEO and a cofounder of Action America. "This anniversary is a time for us to come together and help raise awareness for volunteerism and service, in an effort to honor those impacted as well as helping to create a movement of inspiration and encouragement."