Today's a dark day in American history. White supremacists, white nationalists, Neo-Nazis and AntiFa (Anti-Fascists) clashed at a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. On Saturday chaos turned to violence as group fought against group. As if this weren't disturbing enough, a car plowed into the crowds, killing one and injuring 19, some severely.
A total of four arrests have been made throughout this day including the driver of the car. As an advertising site, it's really not our place to speculate, politicize, write think pieces or hot takes on the state of America. We will, however, showcase ad fails when we see them. And at the moment, Dodge's Twitter feed is sure to be called out as a fail, however unwarranted that might be.
The person charged with plowing through a crowd, killing one and injuring nineteen others, was driving a Dodge. Dodge's Twitter header proudly proclaims "Roadkill Nights: Powered by Dodge." It's a sponsor of the show. At time of writing, Dodge hasn't taken it down.
While Dodge clearly can't be held responsible for the carnage that happened today, it does bring up an interesting conundrum advertising finds itself in when it comes to social media and tragic news events. We applaud Oreo for capitalizing on a moment like the blackout that occurred during the Super Bowl a few years back. But for every Drunk in The Dark, there is the polar opposite. Some unintended contextual reference that suddenly makes your brand look foolish, stupid or tone deaf - or simply slow to react. As we chase those real time moments to earn that precious media, perhaps it's time for brands to have someone on standby to mitigate the consequences when an unintentional viral moment occurs.
Perhaps more importantly (and something that was less obvious during the Oreo Dunk in the Dark days) is the rise in shit posters and meme generators who live for this kind of stuff. One more thing for advertising to worry about.