World Market Apologizes for Inappropriate Email.
Was it Inappropriate or Just a Simple Mistake?
Yesterday World Market sent out a seemingly innocent email to promote the sale of Torani Syrups from Italy.
The email’s subject line, “Summer like an Italian with 2 for $12 Torani. Salute!”
Hours later an apology was sent out. The subject line “Our hearts are with those affected by the earthquake in Italy.”
For those of you that may have missed it, Italy suffered from a 5.5 earthquake on Wednesday which took the lives of over 250 souls and injured more than 360. Aftershocks were recorded at 6.2 magnitude. Nothing short of disastrous for the Italians.
World Market’s apology was truly heartfelt and genuine. They even opted to donate the proceeds of the sale to aid those affected by the earthquake.
Just like everyone else, our hearts go out to the Italians. My roots reach back to Italy. But what brings me to write about this is not about the tragedy. It’s more about the email.
Based on everything I know, I must assume that the email that started all of this was most likely written weeks (maybe months) before the tragedy took place.
I can almost guarantee that the person who wrote the (at the time) seemingly innocent subject line that was legitimately trying to sell an Italian syrup and had absolutely had no idea a tragedy would occur. There’s even a chance that the email was written by a service provider and not even an employee of World Market as according to Campaign Monitor, 56% of companies currently use an email marketing provider.
Basically, the email was probably written, scheduled and forgotten about. Because, as marketers, that’s what we do. We look for for every opportunity to find ways to optimize our time and streamline our efforts. We write, design, promote and move on. Going back to track results and start the cycle again.
So, when a simple email subject line is viewed as inappropriate because of mistiming, it makes me wonder. Why is it so hard to find the time to step back for a minute and really look at what’s going on around us?
Perhaps if the World Market email marketing team slowed down and took the time to reflect on the current happenings in the world they would have been able to adjust the email before it went out. They could still have had the proceeds from the promotion donated to the earthquake victims. They could have been proactive rather than reactive. Perhaps, in a perfect world when time is on all of our sides.
I don’t view World Market as an insensitive brand because of an inappropriate email subject line. The incident didn’t change my view on the retailer. I understand that the people behind the brand are still human. It’s a mishap I could have easily made myself. But, it is nice to see that they stepped up to make things right.
Maybe the biggest lesson learned is we all need to take a minute to look up from our work. It’s easy to get lost in the day. It’s even easier for important events to be lost in the crowded media and social media landscape. Making a real effort to stay connected to what matters will make a difference when it really counts.
Our hearts go out to the victims and family of those affected by this terrible tragedy in Italy.