business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Advertising Age has a piece saying that Wrigley Americas did the right thing - and probably the only acceptable thing - yesterday when its Skittle brand suddenly got dragged into the presidential campaign by one side that issued a controversial Twitter posting using the candy as a metaphor.

The problem emerged when Donald Trump Jr. said on Twitter that "if I had a bowl of Skittles and I told you just three would kill you. Would you take a handful? That's our Syrian refugee problem." And the Tweet was accompanied by the photo of a bowl of Skittles.

When the posting generated controversy among those who felt the sentiments were callous, it took just hours for Denise Young, VP-corporate affairs at Skittles parent Wrigley Americas, to issue this statement:

"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."

Which was exactly the right thing to do. The evidence seems to be that most brands want to stay as far away from this debacle of a presidential campaign season -on both sides - as possible, and not let themselves dragged into it.

The corporate response was an Eye-Opener, even if the campaigns being conducted make me want to shut mine.
KC's View: