Wearable tech firm Jawbone has faced heavy criticism for “insensitivity” after sending an email to thousands of its customers with the subject link ‘Re: Your Dad’.
Many recipients were left distressed after seeing the email in the lead up to Father’s Day this month.
The San Francisco-based firm was promoting one of its products, asking people if they had remembered a gift for their dad. But bereaved people who have lost their parent said the email was ‘intrusive and insensitive’.
A marketing student, whose father died five years ago, told the BBC that the email induced a panic attack.
She said: ‘I immediately thought: What about him? Who in the world would send me an email about my dad? I got a little scared even.
‘Ever since my dad has passed, I’ve been dealing with a lot, which includes depression, anxiety, therapy, you name it. Only for the past couple of months I’ve been feeling better, and this email just crushed me.’
Many others expressed their distress over the ad on Twitter:
Dear jawbone, my father is dead. Love, Ellie. pic.twitter.com/WQ6qsCVniA
— ✍ (@_ellie) June 8, 2016
— Mia Arrowsmith (@miaarrowsmith1) June 8, 2016
Hey @Jawbone that was one stupid marketing email you sent today. "Re your dad" subject line is intrusive and insensitive.
— Baron München (@Stephen888) June 8, 2016
A charity suggested the ads should have been better thought out.
“We know how distressing this period can be for bereaved people and would welcome companies taking the time to think more about the headlines of their email marketing campaigns and the impact these have on bereaved people,” a spokeswoman for Cruse Bereavement Care told the BBC.
In response, a spokeswoman for Jawbone has said it is contacting people who have complained on Twitter and sending them the following statement: “Like many other brands, we wanted to celebrate dads for Father’s Day. We do understand the sensitivity around the subject line used in our email and will be cognisant of this moving forward.”