Tic Tacs, Trump, and Twitter

Written By: Cassandra Deakin

On Friday, October 7, The Washington Post released a video from 2005, featuring Donald Trump and Billy Bush having a rather controversial conversation about women. This video and the comments Trump made in it have blown up over the last couple of days, causing havoc for the Trump campaign and unfortunately, for Tic Tac.

Now, you may be wondering, what on earth does Tic Tac have to do with Trump’s characteristically inappropriate remarks? Well, aside from using the phrase “grab them [women] by the pussy,” Trump also stated that “I’ve got to use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her.” According to Ad Age, Twitter users began discussing the mention of Tic Tac at length, and thus Tic Tac gained “Trump-induced notoriety.” This tweet, posted by @chrisfholm, sums up what probably happened at the Tic Tac social media HQ.

Photo Credit: @chrisfholm

Another Twitter user, @elianayjohnson, said that she doesn’t think she’ll “ever be able to eat a Tic Tac again” and “feels bad for the Tic Tac people.”

This isn’t the first time an innocent candy has been dragged into politics by a member of the Trump family. Last month, Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. compared refugees to Skittles. Both of these incidents tie into some of our class’s recent discussions about how important it is to actively monitor what’s happening on social media and how your company/product is being talked about.

Another key point that this has proven is the importance of quick but well-thought out responses to such incidents. Skittles, although not thought of as having a serious persona, responded within hours of Donald Trump Jr.’s comment. Denise Young, VP of Corporate Affairs at Skittles parent company Wrigley Americas made the statement: “Skittles are candy. Refugees are people. We don’t feel it’s an appropriate analogy. We will respectfully refrain from further commentary as anything we say could be misinterpreted as marketing.”

Tic Tac also responded quickly, with a simple, blunt tweet that read: “Tic Tac respects all women. We find the recent statements and behavior completely inappropriate and unacceptable.”

In my opinion, both companies responded appropriately, particularly Tic Tac. Both responses were simple but got the point across, and neither could really be interpreted as controversial. Tic Tac’s response, which was posted on social media, illustrates how influential social media platforms such as Twitter can be. It will be interesting to see how social media will continue to influence this year’s election.

Edited on October 10, 2016 to add author name. 

Published by

UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism