Washington DC-based Z-Burger has apologized after causing a stir for its inappropriate use of an image for its marketing.
Z-Burger used an image of beheaded photojournalist James Foley in a recent tweet advertisement to promote its burgers. The photojournalist, who was captured by ISIS in Syria in 2012, was brutal murdered two years later.
The tweet featured a burger next to Foley in an orange jumpsuit, with a masked ISIS member standing behind him. It came with the words, “You disgrace me” and the caption, “When you say you want a burger and someone says okay lets hit McDonald’s 👀.” Not surprisingly the ad sparked outrage and the company immediately took down the ad.
Chain owner Peter Tabibian, who took the tweet down, said in a statement: “An apology has been sent to some of you from a contracted marketing company over an unfortunate incident, a post in very poor taste that was not approved by me before being uploaded to our Twitter account”.
Peter explained that the offensive advertisement was created by Valor Media, a marketing company that Z-Burger had engaged for its social media promotions. Valor Media, which is run by 23-year-old Michael Valor, a social media influencer, has also taken to Twitter to apologize for the inappropriate ad. Michael Valor explained that the tweet happened to be the idea of a new art director that recently joined his company, and it was not created with ill intentions.
And while the visual of the beheaded photojournalist was swiftly removed, Foley’s mother Diane chanced upon the ad. She took to Twitter via the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation‘s account, writing that she was “very saddened” by the image and its use as an advertisement for hamburgers.
Z-Burger and Valor Media have pledged to donate to the foundation, which protects independent conflict journalists and supports the safety of Americans who are detained overseas. Valor Media has also agreed to sponsor future events launched by the foundation.
While not as disgraceful, but still inappropriate, take a look at this ad by BK Russia that was pulled.
Daniel is an Art Director and Graphic Designer with over a decade of experience in advertising and marketing in the Greater Toronto Area.