Airbnb has apologised on Twitter and will be taking down its billboard ad campaign in San Francisco. This came amidst an overwhelming response over the presumptuous nature of its campaign message.
Ahead of a legislative vote that could potentially hamper Airbnb’s business, the apartment-sharing platform launched an advertising campaign on a slew of billboards across San Francisco. These messages were addressed to various sectors which Airbnb implied would have benefited from its contribution to state taxes.
The ads suggested some of the ways the city could use the US$12 million it would collect from Airbnb’s tax payment, proclaiming that the funds would help “Keep the library open later” and “build more bike lanes.”
We apologize for Wednesday’s SF ads. They displayed poor judgment and do not live up to the values and humanity of our global community.
— Airbnb (@Airbnb) October 22, 2015
— VentureBeat (@VentureBeat) October 22, 2015
Tinged with misplaced sarcasm, the pouty messages tout potential benefits of the taxes that Airbnb pays. The campaign backfired, with many residents taking to Twitter to expose Airbnb’s misconceptions.
— jessamyn west (@jessamyn) October 21, 2015
— Joe Fitz Rodriguez (@FitzTheReporter) October 22, 2015
The messages did not go well with San Francisco residents, with some pointing out that the US$12 million taxes that Airbnb would pay was meager compared to the income contributed by the hotel industry which is reported to be an estimated US$250 million per year.
One San Francisco resident took to her Facebook to educate the company about how tax works: