There’s a lamentable truism in social media circles that no one notices brand tweets until they screw up. This was certainly the case on Tuesday when I spotted this unfortunate post from Cinnabon:
Shocked by the remarkable insensitivity and ugly opportunism (if you knew anything at all about Carrie Fisher, you’d know she had a love/hate relationship with those buns), I called them out on it with this tweet:
Shortly thereafter, perhaps coincidentally and to their credit Cinnabon had deleted the ill-advised tweet. At this point, I pondered the apparent lack of maturity in our industry – is it possible brands were still ceding control of their social voice to junior staffers without any guidelines against opportunistic and insensitive newsjacking?
Later that day and in stark contrast, my friends over at Silicon Valley Comic Con released this appropriately somber and reverential tweet:
Today we mourn the loss of our princess, Carrie Fisher. An incredible woman and an icon for eternity.
— SVComicCon (@SVComicCon) December 27, 2016
And this more detailed post on Facebook:
In addition to getting the tone just right, the more fundamental difference between these and Cinnabon’s lame post is that Silicon Valley Comic Con had legitimate reasons to participate in the shared grief of the moment. First, Comic Con fans worship at the altar of Star Wars and cosplay versions of Princess Leia abound at every event. Second, Carrie Fisher (and her beloved French bulldog Gary) had been lined up to appear at SVCC 2017, a fact that had excited hundreds of her fans and no doubt made her sudden death that much more poignant. This lesson here is hopefully obvious. In the case of brands joining social media conversations about tragic events, you’d be well advised to remember the words of Benjamin Franklin, “When in doubt, don’t.”
As for Carrie, she would have laughed at all the fuss including the over-seriousness of this column. Self-deprecating to the last, she wielded her foibles like a light saber, sharing the pieces of her life one silly tweet at a time. The galaxy is a bit emptier. RIP Princess.
IsYRbody DKaying➕deth marchi🆖ever closer?®the sands 🅾️F time💲🅾️cruel✝️♓️📧Yshud🅱️arrested➕💲📧♑️✝️2️⃣a 🚗dℹ🅰©beach?Get©gℹ,perspective ➕d📧🅰🕒w/ℹ✝️ pic.twitter.com/euI92t3PeU
— Carrie Fisher (@carrieffisher) December 21, 2016