Ideally, company’s want celebrities to use their products so that when the media snap pictures, the product gets publicity. But sometimes people use your product and you wish they would not. Such was the case for Tiki Brand Products. During the pro-white rally in Charlottesville, VA, the company’s Tiki torches featured prominently in stories about the white supremacists carrying the Tiki torches. Search for a story about evening march and you will see images of the Tiki torches. No one suggests Tiki Brands Products were sponsoring such an event but the product was linked to the protests that turned violent and deadly. Tiki Brand Products responded with the following comment on its Facebook page:
“TIKI Brand is not associated in any way with the events that took place in Charlottesville and are deeply saddened and disappointed. We do not support their message or the use of our products in this way. Our products are designed to enhance backyard gatherings and to help family and friends connect with each other at home in their yard.”
Luckily people agreed with the company and the responses were largely supportive such as this one:
“Thanks for making a statement. It’s too bad that the oh-so-charming crowd of half-wit incompetent torch-bearers decided to use your products, but it’s not like we can blame you. Certainly, you didn’t say, ‘Oh hey, let us sell you a truckload or torches at a deep discount for your hate rally.’
Take heart. Your apology is spreading across Facebook. Your products are made for friends and families to gather in love. We all know this. Their misappropriation of your products is not a reflection on you, but a reminder of how much of a perversion they make of the symbols of life in our country.”
Questions to Consider
1. What are the pros and cons of Tiki Brand Products making a public statement?
2. Why do you think the company used its Facebook page and not its web site for the statement?
3. What are some the advantages Tiki Brand Products has when dealing with the situation?
4. What other actions and/or communication would you take and why?