Social Media

Global brands join tributes to popstar Prince

Prince's legendary career
Prince's legendary career

After the passing of yet another legendary creative artist, people from around the globe have been paying tribute to pop musician Prince.

While many celebrities, fans and leading political figures paid homage to the influential singer; a number of brands also paid their respects. However, as social media has learned recently with the passing of David Bowie, brands have to tread carefully to make sure they don't cause offense.

For companies who did pay their respects, purple-themed posts and famous lyrics by the singer, were popular as a way of celebrating his work. Here are just a few.

Spotify TWEET

Best Buy TWEET

Fender TWEET

Minnesota Twins TWEET

Chevrolet Tweet

Prince performs live at the Fabulous Forum on February 19, 1985 in Inglewood, California.
Legendary musician Prince dies at 57

Leading newspapers, such as The New Yorker and New York Daily News, also paid tribute to the late musician with front page designs.

New Yorker TWEET

On top of that, tech firms Google and Snapchat honored Prince with a respective "Google Doodle" and Snapchat filter of Purple Rain.

Google/Snapchat tweet

Prince performs for the first time in Britain since 2007 at the Hop Farm Festival near Paddock Wood, southern England July 3, 2011.
Who will own Prince's massive vault of unreleased music?

However, not every tribute received the most positive of responses from the public.

Cheerios posted an image saying "Rest in Peace" with a single Cheerio on the 'I', however the tweet was shortly removed. Screenshots of the image soon surfaced however.


General Mills, manufacturer of Cheerios, issued a statement sent to CNBC that said it was removed out of respect for Prince and those mourning, but the tweet was to pay respects to a fellow resident of Minnesota.

"As a Minnesota brand, Cheerios wanted to acknowledge the loss of a musical legend in our hometown. 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," Mike Siemienas, manager of brand media relations at General Mills, said.

Other brands have also received mixed reviews from social media users, including manufacturer 3M; bourbon whisky brand Maker's Mark; and Hamburger Helper, with the latter having since deleted its Twitter post.

A portrait taken on May 13, 1983 shows British singer David Bowie during a press conference at the 36th Cannes Film Festival.
David Bowie honored by global brands

When it comes to tributes, it can become quite easy for brands to face criticism, Professor Christian Fuchs, director of the Westminster Institute for Advanced Studies, explains.

"When a celebrity such as Prince or David Bowie dies, all public and social media attention is for a couple of days on this event. Brands should refrain from making social media announcements mourning such tragic deaths," Fuchs told CNBC via email.

"They can easily face criticism that the impression is created they take advantage of public attention for commercial reasons."

"Death and the logic of commerce do not belong together. The end of a person's life is always tragic and such a loss should never be turned into an advertising spectacle," Fuchs added.

Prince passed away at his Paisley Park residence on Thursday morning, his publicist confirmed in a statement. The singer sold tens of millions of albums to fans across the globe during his career, and received several Grammy awards for his contribution. He was 57.

Musician Prince
Prince's death does not mark the end of his music career

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