A tragedy (or remembrance of a tragedy) is not an opportunity to promote your brand. On days like this, just don’t promote. Take a day off. Be a human. Don’t worry about page views, clickthroughs, or riding the zeitgeist to the top of the heap. It’s a losing proposition, every single time.
I have no doubt that the marketing departments of the Lakers and AT&T are not filled with obtuse tone-deaf individuals who care about nothing but the bottom line and marketing metrics. They are probably well-intentioned people who are trying to do their best to achieve their goals. This kind of tragedy-themed branding stuff is just so off base that it’s hard to say “okay, I forgive you” for what seems like an attempt to capitalize on a horrific event.
It is almost impossible to strike the correct tone on a day like today. There is a high likelihood that someone is going to be offended if you attempt, in any way, to co-opt some of the public’s attention with your message.
So the marketing protip for the day: Sit this one out. Turn off your automatic posts. Take a day off from pushing your brand. Your silence guarantees you won’t show up at the top of a “blunder” Google search for the day.