While you were stumbling between the cooler full of adult beverages and your lawn chair, something pretty awful and all-the-more stupid happened–American Apparel posted a picture of the Space Shuttle Challenger exploding.
WHY?! It was placed (and long since deleted) on the corporate Tumblr account, accompanied by the hashtags #smoke and #clouds because July 4 pictures are a thing.
The great thing with any #PRFail is that not even bloggers with fantastic imaginations can make this stuff up. It was America’s 238th birthday over the weekend (for those that don’t recall thanks to a Monday morning haze they currently are experiencing). Sparklers, BBQ, friends and good times, right?
And then there was American Apparel: A company we covered in January for showcasing mannequins with grooming issues (yeech). Here is the picture some bespectacled hipster schlep thought was a colorful patriotic explosion, and then placed it on the corporate Tumblr account:
USA! USA! USA! Oh wait… that particular plume of #smoke and #clouds is not the Grand Old Flag fireworks celebration–that is a snapshot of American astronauts dying on live TV.
The year was 1986 when that terrible January day happened. Kids, I remember it vividly because teachers used to roll in TVs strapped down to baker’s carts just so students could watch NASA’s latest conquests (and not steal the TVs). If you care to watch because, you know… you weren’t born yet, here is the clip.
We counted down the takeoff aloud in class. It was a pretty eventful day because we were able to skip out of Algebra. And then it hurled into space at 18,000 MPH, only to explode 73 seconds later in tragic display. All seven crew members died that day, including schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe. Everyone was stunned and silent. Ms. Hafferty, my Algebra teacher, sobbed.
That story is important to note because apparently, said social media Millennial that works for American Apparel was the culprit–and wasn’t even a zygote when this happened. Evidently, he or she doesn’t appreciate much cosmological history, which is why the smoke cloud on Google images was considered a beautiful thing. You know? Eyes went into hypno-wheels as the chant “Preeeettttty” dribbled out of his or her mouth.
You can imagine that Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr went ballistic causing American Apparel to replace that heinous picture with this apology. And provided all PR agencies with the number one reason why social media should not ever go exclusively through a 20-year-old in skinny jeans.