When David Bowie died last week (and by the way, f*ck cancer) companies hither and yon decided to hitch their social media exposure and engagement wagons to Ziggy Stardurst, thinking that the strategy of “riding the hashtag” gave them license to use a person’s death as suitable fodder for social content.
Many of these posts were either commercials wrapped in the false cloak of tribute, or the companies doing the posting were so far removed from anything to do with Bowie and his work that it felt disingenuous.
The most egregious was this hastily-deleted tweet from Crocs, which somehow managed to accrue more than 100 retweets and three dozen likes before being pulled. Evidently the Venn diagram of people who love both hideous footwear made from a 3D printer AND David Bowie includes at least 100 persons in the overlapping center.
But there were others – a lot of others – that might not have been as ham-handed, but weren’t exactly selfless “tributes” either. If individuals want to mourn or acknowledge a death on their personal social media pages, I’m all for it. But when companies get involved, it’s a mine field. I said as much on my Facebook page, when I posted:
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