There are certain conversations that brands simply can’t be a part of, irrespective of whether the conversations are taking place in the public domain or somewhat related to their line of business. A few months ago Absa faced massive criticism for running a poll on Twitter about black tax. The criticism stemmed from the history of South Africa and how black people were systemically denied opportunities actively participate in the economy and how Absa was bailed out by the apartheid government. Their poll got people upset and most people thought it was not their place to start engaging in black tax conversations because of the amount of black people that are over indebted and poor even in the new dispensation. Banks are accused of perpetuating the situation.

Last week, fitness guru and TV personality Sbahle Mpisane got into a horrific car accident. Family, friends and fans expressed their shock and sent messages wishing her a speedy recovery. Doves Funerals (a whole funeral parlour) also saw it fit to send Sbahle a message on Twitter, wishing a speedy recovery. Furthermore Doves Funerals designed a digital card with Sbahle’s picture, the message and their contact details. The tweet didn’t sit well with many people and they accused Doves Funerals of being insensitive. Sbahle’s father – Sbu Mpisane said the tweet was opportunistic.

Frankly, the tweet was opportunistic as the #SbahleMpisane was trending on Twitter for a long time on Friday and they knew that by jumping on the hashtag they would get some brand awareness (which they did). For Doves Funerals to design a whole card with their branding and Sbahle’s photo on it was wrong. If Sbahle was the Doves Funerals’ Brand Ambassador it was going to be a different story, but Sbahle has no relationship at all with the brand. They also didn’t ask for the permission to use her image on the card alongside their branding.

Doves Funerals has since responded with the tweet below:

This response is rather flat because Doves Funerals is in the business of burying people not bringing people back to life. Hence, the tweet was insensitive and opportunistic. It is for these reasons that Doves Funerals got a Slap! What is your take?

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Thokozani Patrick Mahlangu

Thokozani Mahlangu is an internationally certified digital marketing professional and an Mcom Business Management graduate from the University of Johannesburg. He is the Chief Brand Creator of Pat onBrands and Pat onFitness- a fitness movement through which organizes weekly runs under the banner #RunWithPat.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. It was very very insensitive of Doves to put themselves and business ahead of someone who is fighting for their life in hospital, this makes you wonder how many people saw the card and tweet before it was posted and how non of them saw anything wrong with it

  2. I haven’t seen the tweet myself however after having read the blog it tells a lot about how much money over people matters to the big corporates we work for.

    It’s sad really.. so many approval processes for such to be released.

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