Pearl Harbor has been dissed by a SpagettiO. The anniversary of the surprise Japanese air attack on U.S. battleships in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, which 72 years ago launched America’s entry into World War II, has always been a somber occasion in America. Ceremonies are held with military pomp and circumstance, red roses are laid in remembrance of the more than 2,400 Americans who lost their lives and the 1,282 who were injured. American flags wave high and proud and speeches by dignitaries remind us to be thankful and to honor the sacrifices made for us to have freedom.
This year, Campbell Soup, which makes Prego, V8, SpaghettiOs and Pepperidge Farm decided to tweet their own message in memory of Pearl Harbor – a smiling SpaghettiO holding an American flag, wearing orange tennis shoes and licking his lip with a hand on his hip. The message, sent via Twitter on Friday night, urged Campbell Soup’s followers to “Take a moment to remember #Pearl Harbor with us.”
The SpaghettiO tweet, all smiles and cockiness, spread through the Twitterverse faster than a Kardashian naked selfie and was retweeted by thousands. Unfortunately, all of the attention wasn’t due to a desire to somberly reflect on Pearl Harbor, but rather because few could believe that Campbell Soup had truly and honestly believed that a smiling ring of pasta was an appropriate way to mark the occasion.
The message was deleted on Saturday and a message tweeted to the 11,000-plus followers of SpaghettiO’s (are you kidding me?) apologizing for the ill-received tweet, saying that they “meant to pay respect, not to offend.” Nothing could be so respectful to the 2,400 people killed that day in Pearl Harbor than being dissed by a cartoon SpaghettiO wearing orange sneakers.
Campbell has shared that its Twitter account is not managed by a marketing agency, but rather is taken care of internally. Why a company as big and well-known as Campbell Soup is handling its social media itself instead of relying on professionals is unclear, but it’s a safe bet to assume that come Monday, some ad agencies in Camden, New Jersey, where Campbell is based, will be fielding frantic calls from a very red-faced Mr. SpaghettiO.
One would think that a brand whose tagline is “Uh-oh, SpaghettiO” would think twice before sending a boneheaded tweet such as their Pearl Harbor “memorial.” Sadly, Campbell Soup is not alone when it comes to using somber occasions to market merchandise and even movies. The movie Man of Steel commemorated Veterans’ Day by tweeting a picture of their movie with a message to thank the troops. Clearly, this is appropriate because of Superman’s long and storied career in the Armed Forces. Right? Oh. Lest you think that only Hollywood and processed food brands could be so classless, don’t forget esteemed designer Kenneth Cole’s tweet during the Egyptian uprise: “Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new Spring collection is available online.”
Yikes. Who knows what prompted such a public dissing of Pearl Harbor by SpaghettiOs, but whether such insensitivity stems from ignorance or greed or a mixture of both, there can be no excuse for corporations who blatantly disrespect the sacrifices of others in order to protect the right they now exercise to be completely idiotic and to spread the evidence of that stupidity worldwide.