Skip to comments.Trayvon scandal puts Chicago candy giant in uncomfortable PR spotlight (Skittles)
Posted on 04/07/2012 2:14:26 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
Our own hometown candy company, Wrigley, is facing a very interesting PR challenge. As you undoubtedly know by now, Trayvon Martin had just bought a bag of Skittles (and an Arizona Tea) when he was shot and killed.
That alone wouldn't cause a company to examine its crisis management program, but because of the symbolism of the candy, college-student activists are buying it in bulk and reselling it to raise money for his family.
The candy has been piled into makeshift memorials, crammed into the pockets of thousands of people who have shown up at rallies in his name and sent to the Sanford Police Department to protest the lack of an arrest in the case.
Skittles sales are soaring for Wrigley and its parent company, Mars Inc. But their new level of fame is quickly becoming a PR crisis that is threatening to hurt the company more than it helps.
I know, I know. Sales are up. Everyone is talking about them. So what's the problem?
According to the New York Times, people are calling for donations and giving back to communities where murder based on stereotypes is a reoccurring theme.
From the Times story:
On social media sites like Twitter, people are suggesting that Wrigley is profiting greatly from the tragedy and should donate money made since Trayvon's death to the family or causes that would help with racial reconciliation or underprivileged communities. Some African-Americans are even asking people to stop buying Skittles until the company gets more involved in the case and donates money.
So now Wrigley is faced with an interesting problem. Keep quiet or give in to activists and donate some of its profits.
Other than a statement, there hasn't been any communication from the candymaker. The company said:
"It's inappropriate to get involved or comment further as we would never wish for our actions to be perceived as an attempt of commercial gain following this tragedy."
Clearly going the route of capitalizing on this situation is not the right thing to do. Is donating some of the increased profits the right thing to do? Is staying silent and watching it all unfold the right thing to do?
Communication professionals are trained throughout our careers to deal with things such as someone dying from eating a product or someone being killed on the job. But this one? This one isn't a case study you find very often, nor is it a scenario you typically include in your crisis-management plan.
This is a crisis where I'm sorry doesn't work. It's a crisis where people on the social networks are telling you how to run your company. And, if you don't donate money, you come off as the big, capitalist company, which could hurt you in the long run. It's a delicate scenario, and companies small and large can learn from how Wrigley and Mars are handling it.
There's no easy answer. Perhaps the best advice is to have Wrigley quietly increase its donations to one of its existing social responsibility programs.
What do you think?
I have seen nothing to make me think Trayvon really had some Skittles when the altercation with Zimmerman went down.
You are correct. AFAIK, it was the attorney for TM’s dad who claimed this tidbit. (along with ice tea)
I haven’t seen any proof of said skittles or AT purchase by lil sainted Trayvee.
Too bad the New York Times can't afford spell-check.
Talk about a paradox. THEY decide to make Skittles a symbol and they buy the things. Now they want to boycott Skittles because....?
Next the gay mafia will be going after glitter.
“There’s no easy answer. Perhaps the best advice is to have Wrigley quietly increase its donations to one of its existing social responsibility programs.
What do you think?”
I think you are an anti-corporation, no talent, LeftMedia mental defective.
The Wrigley Company has absolutely NOTHING to do with the punk Martin’s gansgsta mentality and actions, getting himself killed.
Wrigley should do the right thing and donate a huge portion of its windfall profits to the Zimmerman defense fund.
This is simply their usual extortion ploy. Attack anyone with a dollar, or more.
Wrigleys should donate a symbolic small amount to the GOA, NRA, and SAF on Zimmerman’s behalf.
He merely exercised his God given right to self defense to save his own life, with the best means at hand.
So now even if you are barely tangentially involved you should be bullied into action?
I thought we were against bullying?
I can’t keep up.
Bullying is OK if blacks, hispanics, homosexuals, feminists or muslims are doing it.
Anybody who eats that shyte deserves to die.
I believe they should be used as suppositories for Sharptoon and Jackass.
Who started the skittles and tea story anyways?? We don’t even know. Was it daddy?? How did he know he actually had them when the incident occurred?? IIRC, daddy was away at the time...
Mars is a family owned small company, not a corporate giant. I hope Mars just stands restful and lets the thing pass.
Maybe they’ll put Trayvon Martin’s pic on Skittles wrappers, like sports heroes on cereal boxes.
They’re raising money for the family....because.....????
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