The Holidays are here, and they are without a doubt the cause of the ‘eat and regret it later’ movement. This is the time when you gain all of the pounds you promise yourself you’ll lose before summer. From Thanksgiving turkey to apple pies, food is a MUST for the Holidays. So in honor of the season of giving, (your mother the nod to pass the salt, that is), here’s a public relations food crisis that has taught us all a valuable lesson in PR crisis management.
Case study: Wrigleys and the Trayvon Martin tragedy
The February 2012 death of 16-year-old African American Trayvon Martin who was shot and killed by neighborhood watch captain and former security officer George Zimmerman caused a national outcry that sparked debates on issues of race, discrimination, gun laws, and even police practices.
One of the last things he would ever hold in his hand is a pack of Skittles, which became a national symbol of the tragedy that had occurred. Protestors across the country began to buy Skittles to advocate for equality and justice causing Skittles sales to skyrocket. Many Americans felt Wrigleys, the parent company, had an obligation to donate to Martin’s family and other related charities.
Wrigley’s did the best thing which was to stay neutral and away from the spotlight saying, “We are deeply saddened by the news of Trayvon Martin’s death and express our sincere condolences to his family and friends. We also respect their privacy and feel it inappropriate to get involved or comment further as we would never wish for our actions to be perceived as an attempt of commercial gain following this tragedy.”
This is a prime example of how some of the best PR crises are those we never hear of. Wrigley’s was quick, respectful, and most importantly, unbiased. We can all (including the folks at Chick-Fil-A) definitely learn a lesson or two from the PR folks at Wrigleys.
This guest blog post was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Antinnea Skipwith.