Wal-Mart is under fire for a 9/11-themed soda display set up under a banner that reads: "We Will Never Forget," in Panama City Beach, Florida.
The 15-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks is this year. Wal-Mart apparently attempted to create a display of remembrance, but instead created the tasteless display of Coca-Cola products you see in the photo. The boxes were designed to look like two large towers in front of the U.S. flag.
Shawn Richard first shared a photo of the display on Twitter, as he was vacationing in Florida.
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“We stopped and stared at it like, oh my god,” Richard said to BuzzFeed. “Nobody seemed to be noticing it, it wasn’t very crowded, and I got the feeling that it had just been assembled. So we took some pics and went on our way.”
Twitter users exploded over the display, with many of them tweeting their disgust and anger at the big retail chain.
The Orlando Weekly reached out to Wal-Mart for confirmation that the display was, indeed, real. Charles Crowson, a Wal-Mart spokesperson, confirmed to the paper that the display was real and was located inside a Panama City Wal-Mart. Crowson also stated that the normal process for putting up these types of displays is that first, Coke comes up with the idea. They then approach Wal-Mart, which can ultimately approve or deny.
Crowson also said the display was being taken down.
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Website ATTN: notes this isn't the first example of a brand exploiting a tragic event: a clothing retailer once tried to earn one retweet for each of the victims of the 9/11 attacks; SpaghettiOs infamously shared a photo of its mascot holding a U.S. flag on the anniversary of Pearl Habor in 2013.
One Twitter user called the Wal-Mart display the "ultimate in brand 9/11 cash-in tackiness" and said nothing would ever top it. Other Twitter users simply said they were speechless and still others posted tweets making fun of the retail giant.