Company Makes Offensive Ad, Then Shows You Exactly How Not to Deal With the Backlash Rough few days for graphic design firm

It's getting hard to keep track of brands' social media fails of late, but the latest comes from Seasalt and Co., a Florida-based graphic design company that sells Photoshop tools. And this one was a multipart mess.

First, Seasalt posted a truly bizarre ad on Facebook, showing an ominous looking tree with a noose tied to it. This was somehow meant to advertise a new set of Photoshop tools. But to many, it looked disturbingly like a reference to lynching.

And that's where things got even worse.

Instead of removing the ad, or offering a reasonable explanation for it, the company first got into full defensive mode—defending the ad, both on Facebook and Twitter, and threatening legal action against those who complained about it.

Eventually Seasalt did remove the ad. In fact, it took its whole Facebook page down for a while today. When the page returned, it was wiped clean of the whole interaction—and in its place was a half-defense, half-apology for the ad.

"It has nothing to do with any race at all," the company says. "Our collection is about rising above and refusing to let the world run us and hang us by any mistakes we have made or didn't make. ... We are tired of the hate, judgement and injustice. Seeing the noose wasn't meant to think of a certain race being hung. It was left empty to represent that we refuse to be judged and hung in a non literally sense. ... We apologize for any hurt feelings, we are taking means to remedy this issue."

Read the full statement here.

Hopefully the company learned something from the whole fiasco. And perhaps they could make room in the budget for a proofreader, too.

Get the The AdFreak Daily newsletter:

Thanks for signing up! Check your inbox for a confirmation email.


Sign up for AdFreak Newsletters

About AdFreak

AdFreak is a daily blog of the best and worst of creativity in advertising, media, marketing and design. Follow us as we celebrate (and skewer) the latest, greatest, quirkiest and freakiest commercials, promos, trailers, posters, billboards, logos and package designs around. Edited by Adweek's Tim Nudd.

Click to Subscribe to AdFreak RSS