The Skittles and Arizona Iced Tea brands have been unwittingly thrust into the spotlight following the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Florida.
Martin had purchased the candy and the beverage and was on his way home when an altercation with neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman ended with Martin’s being fatally shot. The case has drawn national attention. Filmmaker Spike Lee encouraged Million Hoodie March participants to send bags of Skittles to the Sanford, Fla., police chief calling for justice.
Now those brands are facing some negative attention.
Specifically, some are saying Skittles has benefitted from extra publicity in light of the story. BuzzFeed
has a collection of tweets to that end. Many are calling for the brands to make sizeable donations in Martin’s name and come out in favor of Zimmerman’s arrest.
The Skittles social voice is anything but serious, and it’s ill-equipped to venture into this conversation. Its highly successful Facebook page
has stayed away from the subject, opting to stick with the type of cheeky content that has helped the brand gain nearly 21.5 million followers. Same with its Twitter content
Skittles has, however, allowed posts about the subject from the public to remain on the page. The brand isn’t weighing in on those conversations, however.
Both brands have issued statements expressing condolences
, but the social media backlash remains.