When a big story breaks, sometimes food brands are a little too eager to join the national conversation, leading to hastily published social media posts.
Cheerios, which is owned by Minneapolis-based General Mills, decided to Tweet a simple salute to Prince Rogers Nelson after the superstar rocker’s passing last Thursday.
“Rest in peace,” Cheerios Tweeted with a simple purple background and the hashtag #prince.
The dot above the “i” was replaced with a single Cheerio.
— Andy Paras (@AndyParas) April 21, 2016
The Tweet was posted at 2:17 PM ET, just hours after the Associated Press had confirmed the singer’s death. But many fans were quick to admonish the chain for taking advantage of a legend’s death to promote its own product.
Can't believe that Cheerios Prince ad. Incredibly poor taste to use his death for self promotion. smh
— Harbinger (@veebex) April 22, 2016
Hey guys, Prince died. BUT PLEASE DON'T FORGET ABOUT CHEERIOS! pic.twitter.com/S31hQm7BTq
— Andrew Nicla (@AndrewNiclaASU) April 21, 2016
Cheerios Prince tribute. This is why most humans hate brands. pic.twitter.com/IH2TJWkiDt
— James Hadouken! (@JamesHadouken) April 25, 2016
But there were a few fans who stuck up for the classic cereal.
— Kurt Marquart (@kurtmarquart) April 22, 2016
Several hours after the tribute was posted, the company decided to remove the Tweet.
In a statement emailed to CNN, General Mills said it wanted to "acknowledge the loss of a musical legend in its hometown.” But the company recognized that their note may not have been appropriate.
"But we quickly decided that we didn't want the tweet to be misinterpreted, and removed it out of respect for Prince and those mourning.”
Hamburger Helper, another General Mills brand, Tweeted a lengthier tribute to Prince on Thursday.
BREAKING: Prince Fans Around The World Comforted By Hamburger Helper's Tweet pic.twitter.com/f1wMG54VTK
— ADWEAK (@adweak) April 22, 2016
That post has also been removed the brand's official Twitter account.