Brands did not waste any time today posting social media tributes to Prince after news broke of the music legend's death. Marketers, of course, risk looking exploitative in moments like this, but brands also want to be seen as current and tuned into culture. It's a fine line.
There was at least one apparent misstep. Cheerios, which is owned by Minnesota-based General Mills, removed a tweet with a purple-backed image stating "Rest in peace" with the "eye" dotted with a Cheerio. In a statement to Ad Age, General Mills said: "As a Minnesota brand, Cheerios wanted to acknowledge the loss of a musical legend in our hometown. But we quickly decided that we didn't want the tweet to be misinterpreted, and removed it out of respect for Prince and those mourning."
Plenty of other Minnesota-based brands, ranging from 3M to Caribou Coffee, attempted to pay tribute to Prince, a Minneapolis native. Music companies also joined in as did NASA and plenty of others.
We join the world in mourning the loss of a genius, a legend, and an inspiration 2 generations of artists and fans. pic.twitter.com/nd5OgLcRdl— Spotify (@Spotify) April 21, 2016
He embodied so much of what we prize most: fearlessness, love and a refusal 2 stand still. RIP, @Prince.— Lenovo (@lenovo) April 21, 2016
Fitting that it's raining in Minneapolis today. pic.twitter.com/s5KFurDhHi— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) April 21, 2016