When corporations feel the need to comment on national headlines, the more clever, timely and appropriate the better! Using sociaI media to make a statement can be a gamble, with some companies succeeding while others have failed miserably.
Remember, The Oreo twitter post during the Super Bowl within minutes of the blackout that stated, "You can still dunk in the dark"? That was a huge win and PR gold for the iconic cookie brand.
Recently, two large brands took to social media to make a tribute to the artist, Prince. One was considered a hit with Chevrolet’s nod to the his memorable hit, Little Red Corvette and the other was a miss with Cheerio’s tweet featuring the message, “Rest in Peace” with a single Cheerio to dot the “i”.
Why was Cheerio’s message detested and Chevrolet’s applauded? Here are a few lessons corporations should consider next time they voice their input on a newsworthy event:
1. It’s not about you! Here was an opportunity to honor a great talent and more importantly his devoted fans. Chevy’s message does not include their name or feature any reference to GM.
On the other hand, as far as I know, Prince never sang about Cheerios, which makes the message all the more self-righteous and a turn-off to his fans.
2. Stay on topic. The photo of a red corvette is all Chevy needed to make the connection with the artist. The simple text and definitive photo is what resonated with the public and more importantly it was ingenious.
Why would a message of Rest in Peace encourage someone to eat a bowl of Cheerios? What was their ad team thinking?
3. Highlight the positive, not the negative. Prince, through his songs celebrated a fast, adventurous life, as does anyone who owns or dreams of owning a corvette.
Cheerios’ ad was purely opportunistic, has no tie to Prince, and in the end was regarded by many as distasteful.