Talk about a no-win situation. The US Muslim population is estimated at over 2.3 million by Pew Research. Their buying power is obviously attractive enough that Best Buy decided to incorporate a holiday message during the holiday season. Oh what a storm that ad created!
US Muslims were ecstatic that US companies were finally getting it and were interested enough to recognize one of their holidays. However non-Muslims were insulted. Many wrote that they'd take their business to other retailers because they felt that Best Buy was "catering to those responsible for the 9/11 attacks" (Note, this is a quote, not my opinion but what was shared by others online and in public forums).
The Muslims rejoiced Best Buy's move and Best Buy said it stood by its campaign. However many marketers believe that they ought not to go down the path that Best Buy did so as to not get caught in a similar storm.
So what's the answer to this problem? Unfortunately there is no clear cut, one answer.
Companies need to target market to ethnic populations. That means that they need to use ethnic media channels to attract ethnic populations. However mainstream media is influential and needs "diverse" messages for diverse audiences. However, companies will need to do more research to create these diverse mainstream messages without creating an explosive situation like the one Best Buy faced.
(Note: I'm not saying that what happened to Best Buy was right. Nor am I saying that companies should not be creating targeted marketing campaigns to appeal to Muslims. However, perception is 99 times out of a 100, reality. So how can companies take those perceptions into factor so that your campaigns don't backfire?) Anyone???