This New York Times article discusses a recent advertisement released by a Miracle Mattress store in Texas. The video campaign advertising a September 11th sale was taken down swiftly and the San Antonio store has since been closed “indefinitely.” The advertisement featured two stacks of mattresses mimicking the Twin Towers getting knocked over and a woman who says, “What better way to remember 9/11 than with a Twin Tower sale. Right now you can get any sized mattress for a twin price.” After the mattress stack falls she screams, “Oh my God” and the video ends with a sarcastic “we will never forget.” (Although the video was removed, I was able to find a copy on YouTube which you can view here.)
This article really caught my eye, especially because I am pursuing a degree in advertising. It amazes me that something this disrespectful could have been run through multiple levels of people without someone stopping to say, “hey guys, I think this idea lacks some integrity.” When in comes to ethics in professional life, I think this mattress business did the right thing in pulling the advertisement and even going so far as to close their doors. It goes to show how damaging just one video can be when it lacks integrity. I think this video would agree with Calhoun’s version of integrity being more so a social virtue. I think most Americans would agree that this ad lacks consistency, going against the moral subscriptions we endorse, and even coherence. Although they appear to say this sale is a great way to remember 9/11, their actions do just the opposite as they seem to mock one of our nation’s most devastating events. Had there been more knowledge of virtues such as integrity or theories of right/wrong action, I do not think an advertisement this offensive would have been released, and a public relations team wouldn’t have had to do such severe damage control.