Writing Letters: Too Many Companies To Mention Edition

TRIGGER WARNING: Consent issues, physical and sexual assault

Dear Too Many Companies on Facebook to Name Individually,

I understand that you want to be “creative” or “unique” or “fun!” I really do. But there’s a point where “fun” goes beyond unprofessional and towards outright exploitative and dangerous.

There seems to be an influx of companies sharing content (created by others) featuring people who are passed out and drunk. Usually in the context of something allegedly funny that this person’s friends (more like “friends”) have done to them.

Let’s revisit that phrase, “done TO them.” This picture is of an unconscious person who was unable to consent to their picture being taken. Worse, they were unable to consent to what was done to them in the picture.

Unless you’re a company whose mission includes using images like these as PSAs for why people should drink responsibly (and even still, you need a model-release form and I still take issue with exploiting the vulnerable to make a point) then it DOES NOT BELONG in your marketing and social media efforts. And even if it does mesh with your mission, I strongly recommend you reconsider other options.

When I see these terrible photos, I assume that you as a brand (or at least your staff) are totally OK with this as a culture, that you condone this kind of exploitative sharing on the web, and that you would or have done these kinds of things yourself. I now associate your brand with “immature,” “unsafe,” “unfocused,” and “irresponsible.” I also think of the people who have been in these kind of situations and physically or sexually assaulted by people who took advantage of their condition. These people are now triggered and reliving painful memories because of your brand’s behavior.

As a customer, these images mean I no longer trust you to be responsible with anything I’ve entrusted you with. If I were a partner of yours, I would immediately want to no longer be associated with your company and your brand. Contract cancelled.

Why would you risk so many things just to try and be “fun” at other people’s expense?

It’s gross at best, dangerous at worst, and you risk losing customers, partners, and advertisers alike.

In other words, it’s just not worth it.

Rise above,