The Huffington Post: The Academy's Tribute Tweet for Robin Williams Backfired. So Why Did People Forgive It?

I wrote a marketing analysis about the Academy’s viral tweet and it was published in the Tech section of The Huffington Post. Very excited and thankful for being able to share my thoughts on marketing with a broader audience. Check out an excerpt below or read the full story on The Huffington Post.


What happens when you write a tweet meant to pay tribute to one of the greatest and most beloved comedians in the world, the tweet is viewed 78 million times, and it turns out that you might have unintentionally promoted suicide?

The Academy’s “You’re free, Genie” tweet in response to Robin Williams’ death did just that, and has since sparked widespread controversy. The Academy likely intended for the text and image of the genie hugging Aladdin to be heartfelt and poignant. For the first 12 hours, the general public agreed: Over 300,000 people re-tweeted and 210,000 favorited.

But things took a turn when the Washington Post published an article the next day stating that the Academy’s message seemed to glorify the idea of suicide. According to the article, the tweet “violates well-established public health standards for how we talk about suicide,” and the chief medical officer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention said, “If it doesn’t cross the line, it comes very, very close to it.”

Wait, the stakes get even higher. Research shows that inappropriate and romanticized messaging about suicide has been associated with “a statistically significant excess of suicides.” Translation? Careless tweets can literally cost lives.

Click to read the rest of the article on The Huffington Post.

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