The luxury hotel chain backtracked on it’s promise that every share would equal one gift for a sick child
Ritz-Carlton Montreal spokesperson Katia Piccolino said that the intention behind the campaign was never to deceive the public. Rather, the purpose was to raise awareness and get people to donate to the Tree of Lights campaign for Sainte-Justine, which many people did, she said.
It all came down to the wording of the post itself, she said. “If we would have put a cap on the number of toys we were going to donate, then this problem wouldn’t have occurred.” Piccolino apologizes for and admits to this error.
Finally, the Ritz-Carlton Montreal decided to extend their donation to the Montreal Children’s Hospital as well as Sainte-Justine. Children from both Hospitals are expected to receive toys in time for the holidays.
Ritz-Carlton Montréal’s viral Instagram post was suddenly taken down on Monday morning, Dec. 7, after having been up for less than a day.
The video post featured essential workers in a hospital during the late hours of night, as well as sick children who were unable to be in proximity of their families due to the global pandemic. An inspirational piano tune played the background of the video as the closing caption read “far from our eyes, close to our hearts.”
The heart-warming video was paired with a caption that stated the Ritz-Carlton would be collaborating with Decarie Motors et Vo-Dignard Provost Groupe to deliver toys to the CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation.
The post stated that every Instagram story share would result in one toy donated to a sick child in need.
Due to a high number of shares, the post blew up overnight. Within nine hours, it reached 150,000 views, according to MTL Blog. Representative for the Ritz-Carlton Montréal, who asked to remain anonymous, told The Concordian, “it created a buzz that was so unexpected we had to take it down.”
The representative further explained that the post had reached its goal of 500 shares, a number that would guarantee a toy for every child at Sainte-Justine. The original post made no mention of this 500 share limit.
People who shared the video were not happy about the secrecy that went in taking the post down. The video was put back up after the backlash. Angry social-media users took to the Ritz-Carlton’s latest Instagram post to express their disdain for the alleged questionable campaign.
Accusations that the luxury hotel used sick children as a publicity stunt to better their image were many people’s concerns. One Instagram user said, “got more shares than y’all thought and didn’t want to start having this be a non-profitable venture.” Some threatened to boycott the hotel all together if they didn’t release a statement saying that they would donate all the toys.
A statement was released to the hotel’s Instagram, claiming that the objective was to raise awareness for the children of Sainte Justine hospital. The statement issued an amended goal of donating toys according to the hospital’s needs rather than for every share to Instagram as originally promised.
The controversial video still received 2.1 million views. Over the time of this two-day campaign, the Ritz-Carlton’s Instagram account saw an increase of nearly two-thousand followers, yet the hospital’s Instagram account following remained constant.
The Ritz-Carlton Montréal representative is disappointed that people would assume that the hotel company would not honor their word. But when asked why there wasn’t more transparency behind the campaign and the deleting of their post, he refused to comment.
The representative says the Ritz-Carlton is an annual supporter of the CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation. The luxury hotel chain has previously thrown Breakfast with Santa Claus events and have done similar campaigns in the past. They promise to deliver 500 toys on December 20th.
The CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation did not reply to multiple requests for comment.
Screenshot of Instagram post.