In an attempt to honor Prince’s death, the cereal company Cheerios tweeted the words “Rest in Peace” and instead of the “i” was a single Cheerio. There were almost zero positive reactions and the brand quickly removed the tweet, but it was useless because fans screen-shotted it shortly after it was released.
The phrase was written against a purple backdrop. The brand took advantage of the fact that the maker of Cheerios, General Mills, is based in Minnesota, where Prince lived. Cheerios brand spokesman Mike Siemienas said in a statement that the company “wanted to acknowledge the loss of a musical legend in our hometown”, according to the Huffington Post.
Siemienas clarified that the cereal firm thought it was best to remove the tweet out of respect because they didn’t want it to be misinterpreted.
“Imagine Cheerios sending this to you after your Dad dies,” Tweeter Coin Flip Experts expressed in a tweet.
Several other brands face scrutiny after offering condolences
But Cheerios wasn’t alone in its failed attempt to offer condolences in some way. We’ll never know for sure whether they wanted to show customers that they support them or gain some attention to boost sales.
Also based in Minnesota, the conglomerate 3M tweeted an image of its logo in purple. NASA featured a purple nebula.
Kentucky-based Maker’s Mark bourbon reposted an old image of a purple-topped bottle as a tribute, but some fans didn’t welcome the suspicious detail.
“He embodied so much of what we prize most: fearlessness, love, and a refusal to stand still,” Lenovo tweeted.
That was a very risky way to insert the brand into a celebrity’s death.
— 3M (@3M) April 21, 2016
Unsurprisingly, Pornhub joined the mix of brands attempting to honor His Royal Badness with tasteless tributes. The porn website replaced the “P” with the male-female symbol Prince used in the mid-1990s.
Jessa Moore, a crisis management expert based in New York, told The Huffington Post that there is no perfect formula for a corporate brand to honor the death of a celebrity because it’s a highly sensitive topic. She compared it with saying they’re going to take advantage of someone’s death because they want to appear in a search algorithm.
Perhaps the most effective action for a brand is to say nothing or think about what it would say to the family of anyone who passed away, without any logo or gimmick thrown in.
Source: Huffington Post