A bowl of sweets sparked political outrage this week on Twitter when Donald Trump Jr compared ‘poisoned’ Skittles with Syrian refugees.
The US Presidential hopeful’s son came up with a ‘bright’ analogy for immigration control and shared it with the digital world. He tweeted a photo of a bowl of Skittles with the words: “If I had a bowl of Skittles and I told you just three would kill you. Would you take a handful? That’s our Syria refugee problem”.
Wrigley, which owns the Skittles brand, was not impressed with the comparison and soon released the perfect response:
“Thanks for reaching out. Here is our response:
“Skittles are candy. Refugees are people. We don’t feel it’s an appropriate analogy. We will respectfully refrain from further commentary as anything we say could be misinterpreted as marketing”, said Michelle Green U.S Marketing Communications Manager.
The photographer of the most famous bowl of Skittles on the internet also came out, telling BBC that he was a refugee. He started his response by saying that Donald Trump Jr had committed copywright infringement.
“This was not done with my permission, I don’t support his politics and I would never take his money to use it,” UK resident David Kittos told the BBC.
On Skittles’ part, this is a great example of crisis management. Not only was it quick to respond, which is the golden rule when dealing with negative press, its response was sharp, to the point and with a human touch nonetheless.
The team behind the brand surely thought their reaction through very well, in a way to prevent it from being taken out of context and leaving very little room for reinterpretation.
At Acceleris we enjoy seeing companies that work hard on building a consumer-friendly brand and promoting their products creatively. I’m sure we all remember the ‘Feel the Rainbow’ campaign by Skittles. Sweet companies especially have to work twice as hard these days to deal with crises ranging from new sugar tax laws and health issues, to unwanted attention from the offspring of controversial candidates for the US Presidency.