All Publicity Is Good Publicity?

Skittles PRWhat’s a brand to do?

Caught up in all the confusion and emotions of the tragic shooting of a young man in Florida are two brands that are now faced with an obvious dilemma. Because Trayvon Martin was apparently carrying a bag of Skittles® and a can of Arizona® Iced Tea when he was shot, the two brands have become inextricably linked to the incident.

But why? Of course, there is a natural inclination for people who are calling for the arrest of the shooter George Zimmerman, to point out that while he himself was armed with a 9mm pistol, Mr. Martin was carrying only candy and a soft drink. But a random reading of comments on Skittles and Arizona Facebook pages shows that many are calling for a boycott of these brands, perceiving that the brands have not responded correctly to the tragedy, or that they are somehow profiting from the publicity.

I’m not certain there is a “proper” way for any company to respond to a tragedy such as this other than to offer their condolences and then steer clear. The 24 hour news cycle seems to do all it can to make all of us talk about an incident before any of us know all the facts. I’d say one thing seems clear, neither of these brands had anything to do with it, and they would do well to keep it that way.

This entry was posted in Brand Equity, Brand Fans, brand image, Controversy, Customer Feedback, Facebook, Marketing Tactics, Publicity, Social Media, Social Responsibility and Philanthropy. Bookmark the permalink.

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