Unintended Message

by Dan Ward

By all means, insurance company Zurich should celebrate its 100th anniversary today. It’s an impressive milestone for a solid company.

But let’s not celebrate the failure to edit banner ad copy in the wake of Friday’s tragic mass shooting in Newtown, CT.

Nearly every news site in America is leading with stories and photos from Newtown, so “Today we celebrate” is not the best message to send at the top of a news home page. In the case of The Wall Street Journal, the banner ad ran above a photo of a hearse. The image is jarring, and certainly does not send the message that Zurich intended.


As communicators and marketers, our job is not just to sell products and services, but also to protect the reputation of the companies and clients we serve. Sometimes that means making last-minute changes to advertising and communications plans based on events that are outside of our control.

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