Natasha Richardson’s Death Sparks New Low in Advertising

Celebuzz / May 13, 2009

Not even a tragic death can stop the wheels of commerce from rolling crudely on, it seems.

E! Online reports that ski-equipment outlet Skiwear4Less.com has sparked a furor in England by sending out a promotional e-mail that plays on Natasha Richardson’s death.

The e-mail featured a photo of Richardson—who passed away on March 18 after suffering blunt impact to the skull during a skiing accident—along with a notice of her passing, and an offer for ski helmets at a discount.

Oh, and free shipping.

“As a ski retailer and ski enthusiasts, our thoughts go out to the family during this tragic time,” the e-mail read. “We hope this doesn’t discourage future skiers from participating in this exciting and invigorating sport. To encourage the wearing of ski helmets, we have reduced the prices of both kids and adults ski helmets and are offering FREE POSTAGE on all ski helmets.

Classy move, guys.

While the company asserted that the e-mail was a newsletter, not a promotional flyer, England’s Advertising Standards Authority banned the e-mail anyway, opining that “reporting the event in such a manner in order to sell ski helmets was likely to cause offence and be conceived as insensitive to recipients.”

Readers, have your say in the comments section: Should the ad have been banned?