Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

New Jersey water park Sahara Sam's slammed over 'amber alert' pun in ad

Note to advertisers: do not use "amber alert" puns to promote your product or services. We figured this was covered in Marketing 101, but given the email blast the Sahara Sam's sent out last night, we're not so sure anymore.

New Jersey water park Sahara Sam's slammed over ‘amber alert’ pun in ad

Note to advertisers: do not use “amber alert” puns to promote your product or services. We figured this was covered in Marketing 101, but given the email blast the Sahara Sam’s sent out last night, we’re not so sure anymore.

The West Berlin, NJ water-park sent out an email last night with the subject line “sAMBER ALERT: Your Kids Should Be Here,” much to the horror of parents on the subscriber list. Take, for example, the anger of Facebook commetor Scott Borsky:

Dear Sahara Sam's, who in your advertising department came up with the idea to send out tonight an email with big letters "sAMBER ALERT". Do you know what an AMBER ALERT is, you idiots?? I read these, as they are very important. How clever of you to put a small "s" in front of AMBER ALERT to refer to your Mascot Sam -- so I would be tricked in opening your ad. I'm sure the folks in your ad department found that humorous and NEVER, EVER need to deal with a real Amber Alert.

Or email recipient Billie Bakhshi:

Amber alerts?! Really? As an advertising gimmick? Smh...and taking my "like" & business elsewhere... 

SMH, indeed, Billie. SMH, indeed. But, to their credit, Sahara Sam’s did issue an apology and explained the situation, saying that the subject line was “not approved” for circulation: 

We are deeply sorry for sending the prior email in error which made reference to the amber alert system. The email subject line was not approved for circulation, and in trying to be creative during testing our team made an error which may have resulted in a segment of our subscribers receiving this correspondence.

We realized this mistake and quickly reacted.

Our entire staff sincerely apologizes for any offense this may have caused. In closing we stand behind our commitment to educating children and their safety.

So, advertisers, please take note. Puns and plays on words are part of your arsenal, sure, but maybe tone it back when we’re talking about phrases used to describe, you know, child abductions. That can come off as a bit insensitive. 

And no one—no one—likes an insensitive water park. Believe that.

 [H/T to Dan Rubin at The Talk]

Nick Vadala Philly.com
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