Cantor Fitzgerald launches controversial ad campaign to remember lost staff
LONDON - Cantor Fitzgerald, one of the Wall Street firms at the heart of the September 11 terror attacks, has launched a controversial advertising campaign to pay tribute to the 658 staff it lost.
The $4m (£2.7m) TV and print campaign marks the first time that any advertiser has turned to the events that destroyed the twin towers of the World Trade Centre.
The ads feature nine surviving Cantor employees talking about the events of September 11 and the death of so many of their colleagues. Speaking to camera, one Cantor Fitzgerald staff member says: "My friends went to work. They went to work that day and people killed them. The lights went out, the place filled with smoke and I was just thrown to the floor."
However, the campaign has been questioned by some in the industry who say the firm is exploiting the tragedy by broadcasting what is little more than a corporate recruitment campaign that plays on people's sympathies.
Bob Kuperman, the DDB New York chairman and CEO, questioned whether the firm was sending out the right image. "I don't know if guilt is the motivation that you want to use to do business with people."
However, Cantor Fitzgerald is not being disingenuous in its approach and openly admits that the campaign is about improving the firm's financial situation, although it does not go so far as to mention the firm's eSpeed electronic bond-trading software.
Amy Nauiokas, senior vice-president for marketing at Cantor Fitzgerald who also takes part in the ads, said: "We are significantly less profitable than we were prior to September 11. Cantor made $23m in the first three months of this year, and boosting those profits will ultimately help the victims' families."
The ad has been largely welcomed by the families of the Cantor Fitzgerald staff, who have warmly praised the firm for the support it has given to the victims' families.
Cantor has said that 25% of its profits over the next five years will go to supporting the families of those killed.
According to Nauiokas: "We have every intention of committing and continuing our commitment to be a part of these families' lives for the long term. And that includes more than just the 10 years of healthcare and the five years of profits that we've promised."
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