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Cheerios removes Prince tweet

Technically Incorrect: Saying that it might have been misinterpreted, the company removes a tweet in honor of the dead artist.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

Not exactly comforting.


When famous people die, it isn't just fans who react.

Some brands decide that they, too, must offer their respect and condolences in some way.

Perhaps it's to show customers that they understand them. Or perhaps it's just to snag a little news for themselves.

When Prince died Thursday, many companies and groups emitted tweets of purple sympathy.

NASA, for example, featured a purple nebula.

Lenovo tweeted: "He embodied so much of what we prize most: fearlessness, love and a refusal to stand still."

That one might have seemed a touch strained. Why insert yourself into someone else's death?

Cheerios, based in Prince's home state of Minnesota, went a little further. It adorned its Twitter account with a "Rest In Peace" message in which the dot over the "i" was a Cheerio.

This was viewed by some as crass commercialism. For example, tweeter Coin Flip Experts featured it in a tweet with the thought: "Imagine Cheerios sending this to you after your Dad dies."

The Cheerios tweet was soon removed.

Cheerios parent company General Mills didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. However, the company told Ad Age: "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."

Cheerios is far from alone in tortured tweeting. Just last week, KFC in Australia tweeted an overly suggestive photo. That tweet, too, was quickly pulled. The Cheerios tweet, however, seems particularly unfortunate because the brand is local.

One option for a brand is always to say nothing. A second is simply to say precisely what you'd say to the family of anyone who died.

Without any brand gimmick thrown in.