Should you Pay Tribute in your Social Media to a Celebrity that Passes?

Should YouI don’t have to tell you that last week we lost a musical legend, Prince. I’m sure you have heard it on the news. This got me thinking should you tie in your brand to a celebrity. I think Jennifer Jones on her blog hit it dead on with what was a hit or miss in the Prince tributes. Go read her post, It is one of the best I have read.

Does The Person Fit your Brand?

We all have people we think are brilliant and amazing. If you’re going to go into the world of paying tribute to an idol of millions, tread lightly. Make sure they match your brand. An example this week is Makers Mark turned their iconic red wax top into a purple one. While I think Maker’s Mark intentions were honorable, Prince was known to a non-drinker. They have pulled their Tweet. Do some research about the person before deciding to post about them!

If you do be cautious 

Be very cautious and respectful. Don’t do anything out of left field. It could potentially damage your brand if it goes wrong. People are far less forgiving when you seemingly defame one of their idols. It will be remembered for a long time. One of the best for Prince was the Google doodle was changed to Google in Purple. Purple rain coming down on Google. One reason I think it went over so well is Google is known for using the doodle to pay tribute often to different people. Also, another great one was Chevrolet “Little Red Corvette” Ad. It was simple and classic. What did these two got right is they were simple and was the essence of Prince.

google doodle prince


Don’t Tie into Marketing

What ever you do, DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT tie this into selling. It will not be seen as a good thing by anyone. Jennifer pointed out that Getty Images posted a picture of Prince with a link to buy the picture. I think had they just posted the picture without the link they could have come off better. If you aren’t familiar with Getty Images. They have millions of pictures of news worthy events. One other brand, who I won’t name, was giving 50% off all purple items. It gives you a face palm! This is the worst thing you can do, so don’t sell!

When in doubt don’t! 

If you are in doubt about creating a post for a celebrity that has passed. If you are questioning how it will be seen, it’s best to not post anything. Or possibly keep it simple, with a post like “Our thoughts are with the family of (insert name).” In this situation it’s way better to leave it alone than take a risk it will back fire.

Tim is the founder of Element33. A social media agency specializing in education, management and strategy for small businesses. He comes from a traditional marketing agency but has embraced all things digital. He considers himself a marketing nerd and believes that all marketing is tied together. This means no matter what silo you are in, social, email, seach, etc, changes in one will affect the other!

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