October 1, 2023

Digital Marketing Education

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Skittles’ Pride packaging faces Bud Light-like backlash

Though the company is the face of criticisms, Calkins said he doesn’t see Skittles ending its campaign, but instead believes it will change its strategy in the future.

“I don’t think the controversy will change the (company’s) core values. I think companies that have supported inclusion and diversity will continue to do that. The thing that might change, though, is how they do it. And I think that balance companies are going to try to find is supporting these causes and doing it in a way that doesn’t create a huge backlash.”

This isn’t the first time Skittles has been the face of social contention. The 2012 killing of Trayvon Martin sent Skittles’ sales soaring as he had purchased the candy before being fatally shot by George Zimmerman in Florida. Because the company had experienced a boom from Martin’s death, becoming a symbol in the fight for racial justice, some called for Mars Wrigley to donate money to Martin’s family or the causes that would “help with racial reconciliation or underprivileged communities” according to The New York Times.

The company then released a statement: “It’s 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.”

Mars Wrigley did not respond to requests for comment.

Mars Wrigley, which has its global headquarters in Chicago, also conducts research and development at its Global Innovation Center on Goose Island. That facility employs about 600 people and is set to open a second, $50 million building later this year. McLean, Va.-based parent company Mars Inc.’s revenue was about $45 billion last year, but it does not disclose financials for Mars Wrigley.


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