Is MLK Day Just Another Holiday To Sell Stuff?

Yesterday, the United States observed our newest federal holiday, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The Rev. Dr. King was assassinated in 1968, and we’ve been observing a Monday close to his birthday as a nationwide holiday since 1986, so it must be about time to use his life and legacy as an excuse to hawk sleep meds, sweaters, and interracial porn. 

Over at public radio station WBUR, anchor Sharon Brody was so appalled at a Gap e-mail blast advertising a “MLK Event” that she called up the company. She wanted to know how many people worked on the e-mail blast and thought that it was even remotely a good idea.


The public relations person on the phone admitted that other people had complained about the badvertising blast, and issued this statement apologizing for it.

Celebrating inclusion and diversity is an important part of who we are at Gap brand and something that we strive to reflect, not only in our marketing, but in everything we do. We fell short of this in our recent marketing email and missed an opportunity to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy with our customers. We are committed to doing better in the future.

It’s not that things turn out any better when brands do try to relate their brand to Dr. King’s legacy, though. McDonald’s was probably the most successful in doing this on Twitter, and other brands’ efforts fell short or were just baffling.



Zzzquil, you do realize that the “dream” in the March on Washington speech was metaphorical, right?




We’re not even sure what is trying to say here. At least find some completely distasteful way to tie the holiday to your brand.


The winner of worst branded tweet(s) of the day had to be Pornhub, though this was probably a calculated exercise in terrible taste.



MLK’s Dream Had Nothing To Do With Retail [WBUR]
How Brands ‘Celebrated’ Martin Luther King Day on Twitter [AdAge]

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