I won’t write about rights or wrongs of this event. Instead I will just make an observation: Skittles – wrong place at the wrong time. Boy how messed up this whole situation is for their PR department.
Unintentionally and completely not due to their actions, they have become part of nation-wide anti-racism-murder campaign. Their product wast the main witness and became one of the symbols of the Trevyon Martin case. And how do you live with that?
They haven’t figured out it to this day. The public sometimes posts some ‘RIP Trevyon’ posts on their wall or something about donating some extra $ for anti-violance campaign. But no aggressive post flooding of their Facebook page or any other negative actions.
But they make a one big mistake that can change all that: they ignore the users on their profile. And one of the fundamentals of social media PR is listening to your audience. That’s what makes them unique and… social. If you forget about that you make a step back, to the times of TV, radio and newspapers. 2011 has showed that social media can have a massive role in ending the regimes, in the worst case scenario 2012 can show that social media can end a company.
So what should they do? I don’t know. Wrigley(the owner of Skittles) has issued a statement, but didn’t post it to social media, they skipped that channel, maybe they were afraid of it? The issue isn’t easy to handle, trying to make a good PR for your company on the basis of a tragic death to which your product is related… Every move can have a very bad reception among the society and serious consequences. Lets face it: we are talking about how to make something good for the company out of a tragic death of a teenager.
Fortunately the public itself also doesn’t know what to do with Skittles in this situation. But ignoring them won’t help. It can only cause problems. For the time being I would just start a conversation with my fans. Skittles, you can’t ignore this issue forever, and if things go wrong, you certainly can’t turn off the Internet.