Following the awards ceremony for the 2022 Oscars, playbacks of Will Smith slapping Chris Rock across the face mid-show flooded the internet. Naturally, the light-hearted sides of Twitter, Instagram, and Tik Tok were filled with memes and reenactments to serve as a moment of comic relief. Although the matter was in fact to be taken seriously, social media was bound to turn the shocking moment into a funny memory for pop culture.
On the other end, those online discussed whether Rock deserved the slap or not and if Smith’s actions were justifiable. At the same time, almost every media outlet covered the moment with news updates and hot takes as the aftermath developed and Will Smith issued an official apology via social media. Many outlets that published op-eds reflected on the insensitivity of Rock’s comment about Pinket Smith’s alopecia condition.
While Smith’s and Rock’s encounter circulated as the number one topic in the digital world yesterday, Fashion Nova entered the chat with a timely, yet insensitive promotional message. Subscribers who are signed up for mobile messages received a text that read, “We SLAPPED 40% Off The ENTIRE Site! It’s Time To ROCK New Spring Looks.”
Although it is not unusual for companies to utilize pop cultural moments as an opportunity for witty, cool marketing, it’s clear that this instance was not the time. Individuals may have made jokes on social media, which may have jaded the fact that the occurrence is a sensitive situation, but it’s a very different context when a large corporation uses its platform to make a mockery out of a serious heated moment.
It leaves us to wonder what tone-deaf marketing has to say about a company’s awareness and overall ethics. Fashion Nova has yet to issue an apology or publicly address the promotional text.