For the people of Cantor Fitzgerald, heroism meant returning to work as the ashes of the World Trade Center, and their company, still floated over lower Manhattan.
They did it to provide for the families of the colleagues they lost; to show our enemies that Americans are made of stronger stuff than they imagine; and on a human level, to just keep going.
In his Ad Age column on this campaign, Bob Garfield summed it up appropriately:
"If any company has the right to invoke 9/11 -- even exploit it for sympathy -- it is Cantor. And it is beyond our reach to pass judgment. We can only muse. Why? Why run this campaign? Is it marketing, or catharsis? Inspiration or pathos?
Because these stories don't reflect corporate heroism or loyalty to the customer so much as they reflect the desperation of men and women who don't know how to bear up in the face of the unbearable, and throw themselves into, say, IT rescue because, Jesus, it's at least something to act on, a mechanism against abject powerlessness, better than curling up in the fetal position and wailing.
In other words: human nature, which -- we suppose -- it is only human nature to share."
Advertising Age, June 3, 2002