Did Cinnabon Use Carrie Fisher’s Death to Sell Their Cinnamon Buns?
“It’s insensitive,” New York crisis management expert Jessa Moore told the Huffington Post. “It’s like they’re saying, ‘We’re going to capitalize on [a celebrity] death so we show up in a search algorithm.’”
It’s a sentiment that was echoed promptly and with vigor across the Twitterverse after Cinnabon posted this tribute to Star Wars heroine and feminist icon Carrie Fisher, who died from a heart attack last week:
Accused by the actor’s fan base of taking advantage of tragedy to advertise, Cinnabon quickly deleted the post and apologized via the social media platform.
Our deleted tweet was genuinely meant as a tribute, but we shouldn’t have posted it. We are truly sorry.
— Cinnabon (@Cinnabon) December 28, 2016
It’s not the first time we’ve seen this sort of reaction from the Internets about a brand’s inappropriate behavior. Remember when Cheerios tried to honor Prince when he passed in April? A purple background, with “Rest in Peace” written in white, a single Cheerio above the ‘I’?
And in January after the passing of David Bowie, Crocs landed themselves in hot water after posting a photo of a white pair of their shoes with a Bowie logo sprawled overtop.
All three of the brands’ posts were promptly deleted.
With such a strong fan-base behind Carrie Fisher and the Star Wars empire, this instance has left us to question whether it’s ever okay for a brand to honor a celebrity’s death or if it’s safer to avoid it altogether.
The media-decided verdict seems to be that, as a brand, when you honor a celebrity who’s died, you stick to the purpose of the post – to honor them. And unless your product directly affected them (like Fender’s post about Prince), it’s best to leave yourself out of it.
What do you think?