With the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks quickly approaching, a grab bag of brands and interests are rushing to leverage the event and the sentiment for a little self promotion.
And while the event has always been both a tender subject and an appealing promotional property, this year may see an increase in the volume, in both noise and amount, of 9/11. In fact, it may be so much that a person might need a drink… for which there is a 9/11 wine.
From the Lieb Family Cellars come both Merlot and Chardonnay varietals of 9/11 Memorial Commemorative Wines, reasonably priced at $9.11 a bottle. The Lieb Family is donating 91.1 cents of each sale to the 9/11 foundation September's Mission.
Best Buy is just one of a handful of brands (Chase, GlaxoSmithKline) jumping on the 9/11 bandwagon. In a recent release, Best Buy announced:
"In commemoration of the 10-year anniversary of September 11, Best Buy announced a $500,000 contribution to MyGoodDeed. The company will observe the 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance by sponsoring citywide service projects in the retailer’s hometown of Minneapolis/St. Paul and in Chicago, as well as volunteering in cities nationwide.
Best Buy will deploy employee volunteers who will support projects organized by local nonprofits and are aimed at improving the quality of life in local communities. The consumer electronics retailer will also participate in key tribute events scheduled throughout the 9/11 weekend."
Others are also working on projects to attach their names to the 10th anniversary in the hopes that a little of that "our brand cares" rubs off.
A video posted on the Facebook page of The Underground Clown art group states that "State Farm will be airing a 9/11 commercial that will feature The Underground Clowns Mural."
NASCAR just filmed a commercial that will show up soon at Nascar.com/unites.
One brand that would be expected to both take the event personally and leverage it for exposure is the Fire Department of New York, which is releasing a commemorative 9/11 book. It features a foreword by President George W. Bush and is available in standard ($39.95) or bound leather ($69.95).
The commemorative motorcycle ride for "America's 9/11 Foundation, Inc." included one of the more "unique" sponsorships. Alongside brands like Applebee's, Smith & Wesson sponsored the event with a giveaweay of "three Commemorative Collectors 1911's stamped and labeled America's 911 Foundation." Yes, remembering 9/11 with guns.
This wasn't the Smith & Wesson brand's first foray into 9/11-themed promotions. One of its guns recovered from the 9/11 wreckage was designated a "Treasure Gun" by the NRA's National Firearms Museum.
Retailers trafficking in 9/11-commemorative merchandise are, naturally, ramping up both inventory and rhetoric. Twin Towers 10 Year Anniversary Coin? Nylon pulldown for mourning? "This pulldown has purple and black stripes for your mourning ceremony."
Then of course there are the politicians. For a special New York Congressional election (fortuitously?) scheduled for September 13, one of the candidiates has "gone Mosque" and worked the emotional event into one of his campaign commercials. Stay classy, Bob Turner.
It must be noted that this kind of capitalization may be in overdrive this year, but it is by no means unheard of. For example, during the 2002 Super Bowl, Budweiser ran a 9/11 tribute ad. Bud made a big deal about how it would only air the ad a single time, out of respect. Of course, the ad went on to be one of the most shared YouTube beer spots of all time (currently over 4 million views.)