[By Tyler Murphy]
While the U.S. election is over and the results remain divisive, a treasure trove of public relations hits and misses have been left behind in its wake.
One of the most contentious issues throughout this election cycle was immigration, specifically the resettlement of refugees from the war-ravaged country of Syria. It was on this point that the son of future president Trump, Donald Trump Jr., posted an off-colour tweet likening refugees to poisoned Skittles.
The tweet read, “If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you. Would you take a handful?” While the tweet should have been disturbing to anyone who saw it, it was liked more than 13,000 times and retweeted 9,000 times before being deleted.
Shortly before the tweet was taken down, Mars, Incorporated, the company responsible for the tiny sweets, gave Trump Jr. a lesson in humility with a simple, yet obvious message:
“Skittles are candy; refugees are people.”
While the company could have taken this opportunity to spin the message as a marketing play, they stayed on target and finished their tweet to clarify their stance. “It’s an inappropriate analogy. We respectfully refrain from further comment, as that could be misinterpreted as marketing.”
The message was lauded on Twitter by commentators such as Elizabeth Renzetti, a columnist at the Globe & Mail, who tweeted: “Who knew Skittles would turn out to be the humane voice in this election.”
Mars, Incorporated’s decision to resist self promotion in order to preserve a semblance of humility in a political campaign that was anything but civil, makes it seem they graduated from a PR master class.
You can learn more about Donald Trump Jr.’s unsavoury Twitter past here.
(Photos by Tyler Murphy and Twitter)