Fans of deceased rock legend Prince flooded the Cheerios Twitter account after the General Mills company published a tribute tweet that was seen as more self-serving than a memorial.
The Cheerios “tribute” tweet featured the words “Rest in peace” behind a purple backdrop, along with a cheerio in place of the dot over the letter i.
The acrimony on social media was massive and almost instantaneous:
@cheerios you all did nothing wrong in posting the RIP tweet to Prince, and IMO I thought it was awesome! You all are still cool with me 😉
— Alfonzo (@myst575) April 22, 2016
— Ajna Adams (@ajnaadams) April 22, 2016
Cheerios has since deleted its tweet.
Prince Rogers Nelson, known to many millions of fans as Prince, was found unresponsive at his Paisley Park compound in Minnesota on Thursday morning. The singer was pronounced dead at the scene. He was 57 years old.
In response to its much-maligned #prince tweet, General Mills said that the company only wanted to “acknowledge the loss of a musical legend in its 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,” the company said in a statement.
The cereal giant was not the only company to seemingly use the death of Prince as a opportunity to market its brand.
Companies from Chevrolet to Maker’s Mark to digital music streaming service providers Pandora and Spotify tweeted memorials to Prince, all of them coming with mixed reviews from his fans.
— Chevrolet (@chevrolet) April 22, 2016
— Maker's Mark (@MakersMark) April 21, 2016
— Pandora (@pandoramusic) April 21, 2016
We join the world in mourning the loss of a genius, a legend, and an inspiration to generations of artists and fans. pic.twitter.com/nd5OgLcRdl
— Spotify (@Spotify) April 21, 2016
Ironically enough, Prince removed his music from Spotify last year. And outside of Pandora and Jay Z’s Tidal, which requires a $9.99-per-month subscription, there is no online option that allows Prince fans to listen to his enormous catalogue of music.