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Skittles' Catch 22

Posted At: April 2, 2012 2:30 PM
by Mariah Fairweather

When you Google Skittles, you may expect to see the iconic red bag full of the bright, fruit-flavored candy to show up or maybe the

newest slogan “Experience the Rainbow”. Instead, if you Google Skittles today, you will most likely see headlines of death and injustice.

On Feb. 26, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was walking down the streets of a gated community in Sanford, Fla., when the neighborhood watch volunteer, George Zimmerman, shot Martin. Zimmerman claimed self-defense in Martin’s death, but the only items found on Martin were a bag of Skittles and a can of Arizona Iced Tea.

The Skittles brand has gone from the innocent “Experience the Rainbow” brand to being used as a sign of injustice, wrongful death and even murder.

Over the past several weeks after Martin’s death, Skittles has been in the spotlight of the protests. Facebook users are posting pictures in hoodies using Skittles as a gun, and taping Skittles bags to their mouths to symbolize silence from law enforcement. Skittles has

been making appearances at the protests, piled into makeshift memorials and even sold to raise money for the Martin family.

Skittles has a sudden popularity due to this tragedy leading to an increase in profits. Questions have been raised asking what Skittl


es will do with the profit. Will it donate to the Martin family? Or will it donate money to an organization to help support causes linked to Martin’s death? Or will the company simply capitalize on the tragedy?

Companies are often trained to handle crises, but this case is unique. Stephanie Childs, a former crisis manager for ConAgra Foods, commented in a New York Times article that “the company will take a hit no matter how it handles the situation. If it donates money, people will criticize it for being not enough. If it speaks publicly, people will say [the company is] capitalizing on it.”

Wrigley, Skittles’ parent company, issued a statement: “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.”

The call for justice in this situation has been broadcast all over the U.S., leading people to create strong opinions. I think that laying low while the facts in the case are worked out is the right move on Skittles’ part. Once things have been sorted out, Skittles can decide its next move.


  1. Post comment

    Skittles has acknowledged the horrible tragedy but really has no place to say anything about the incident. For now the stance they have taken is just the right one. They do not want to be criticized and do not want to jump the gun and make statements before the trial and investigations are over.

    They boy just happen to have a bag on him when he was killed. Skittles were like his last memory and something people have come together to remember him by. Its not clear if at this point Skittles is really making a gain in profits from all this or not. So before hanging Skittles out to dry for doing or not doing something the situation needs to run its course

  2. Post comment

    This blog post brings up a significant point about name brand. Most people do know skittles as a “colorful” brand, as stated in the beginning of the article. Martins death however has caused the brand to step back and let time do the healing. The article points out how a brand can have one image today and a different image tomorrow. The article is informative and has credible sources to back up its story.

  3. Post comment

    This definitely is a sensitive and touching issue for a lot of communities in America especially when the topic of race is involved. I believe that Skittles has done the right thing by not making a strategic move. The best move is to stay on the sidelines and remain fair and impartial to the trial so as to not upset anyone. Skittles may benefit from not saying anything at all even after the trial and sentencing.

  4. Post comment

    I completely agree that Skittles did make the right decision by “laying low.” I do, however, believe that Skittles should continue to stay completely out of the case. Skittles expressed its condolences to the family and that is all that should be done. Any further move or involvement by Skittles would, like it said in its statement, be “inappropriate.” As with every issue there will be some backlash from those advocating for the Martin family, but any action by Skittles in this situation will receive criticism. If Skittles decides to take on this one call for justice, it will essentially be obligated to take on every other single issue that arises.


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