Canadian company pulls ad over 'offensive' acronym
Published Saturday, September 24, 2016 11:08AM EDT
Easyhome, a rent-to-own company that offers furniture, appliances and electronics, was called out by customers on social media this week who received their latest print flyer. In the top left-hand corner were the letters “OMFG” in a speech bubble, mimicking a text.
The acronym originally stems from “OMG” meaning “Oh My God” but includes an added expletive and is commonly used online. The flyer was advertising a five-day sale and also featured different emojis or smiley faces emitting excitement and disbelief.
Shortly after the flyer was sent out, customers began posting on Easyhome’s Facebook page and tweeting at them on Twitter, expressing their distaste. One Twitter user called it a “marketing fail” and a Facebook user said they had to explain the acronym to their children.
According to Scott Cunningham, a digital marketer with Social Lite Communications, it would have been different and potentially more appropriate if the acronym was used in a digital advertisement aimed at younger people.
“If it’s for an older demographic who’s spending a lot of money on furniture and they’re reading traditional print ads then it could be taken as an offence,” said Cunningham.
According to Facebook posts, Easyhome has modified their online advertisements to now read “OMG” but most of their print advertisements had already been sent out. In a different Facebook post, Easyhome apologized to its customers and promised to take their responses into consideration when creating new marketing material.
“The acronym is commonly used to convey shock and disbelief rather than profanity… we did not intend to offend and as a result of some of the feedback, we modified some of our online and digital creative,” Andrea Fiederer, chief marketing officer of Goeasy Ltd., wrote in a statement given to CTV.
According to Advertising Standards Canada, in the past they have received complaints about the same acronym being used in other marketing materials but they have not received any complaints about the Easyhome flyer.
With a report from CTV Edmonton