Going to the mall? That’s un-American!

Statue_libertyThe last time we checked, it was fine—even legal—to open our mouths and spout an opinion. Why should marketing strategies be held to a different standard, especially if the resulting campaign is based on the truth?

The Simon Property Group, which owns shopping malls throughout North America, produced a print effort featuring the Statue of Liberty and other landmarks with the words, “Very inspiring. Now where’s the mall?” The campaign came out of surveys of tourists who listed shopping as their top vacation pastime. (In case you haven’t noticed, there are many teenagers out there—and adults, too—who balk at the thought of another monument or museum and just can’t wait to go shopping.)

The hue and cry that has arisen over this campaign alleges that it shows disrespect for our national landmarks. At least the print campaign didn’t suggest that we should sell our monuments to raise some cash, as Italy’s Sylvio Berlusconi once considered doing. At any rate, it’s now a moot point, as Simon has pulled the campaign.

But the standards on what gets protested against—and what doesn’t—remain scattershot. Where were the protesters when the Smithsonian Institution in Washington decided to let companies sponsor exhibits, naming a bug exhibition after Orkin? Nor does there seem to be a peep of unhappiness over the Egyptian government’s plans to bring back the famous King Tut exhibit at $30 a ticket—not to educate Americans but to raise $10 million from every city the exhibit visits.

—Posted by Wendy Melillo

Credit: Copyright Joseph Pobereskin/NYC & Company, Inc.