So, we lost another legendary musician way too soon. What’s even sadder is what happened on social media immediately following the news. Brand posts like this:

NASA

And this:

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And, oh no, not this:

Helper

So, what do we recommend a brand do following the death of a recent celebrity, like Prince or David Bowie? Listen to Prince’s words, and celebrate that person’s life “like it’s 1999”…when there was no social media. Seriously.

After all, as a brand manager, the last thing you want to do (or look like you’re doing) is turning sad, tragic news into a great, FREE opportunity to advertise your brand. Or worse, to sell some high-res licensed images of the recently deceased…with a hyperlink?! (Oh My Getty)

Getty

Adding a purple raindrop to your logo, or changing your bourbon brand’s iconic red wax seal isn’t much better. It doesn’t just feel phony and self-serving—it’s insulting. Especially when you consider Prince didn’t drink.

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And no, all you blue chip brands from Prince’s home state don’t get a free pass either (even if you did realize your post was in bad taste and deleted it. Because we all know it’s un-delete-able once you post it—thanks to blogs like this).

Call us crazy, but as consumers, we don’t want our breakfast cereals, government space agencies, ketchup bottles, or favorite talking meat glove pitchman consoling us about Prince on our Twitter and Instagram feeds (consuming your delicious hamburger helping product, while listening to “When Doves Cry” is all the comfort we need…thank you very much).

But if for whatever reason, your social media team still feels the absolute need to pay tribute and say something, be smart about it. Just don’t use your company’s logo, product, or service to do it. A simple, tasteful #RIP____ along with a quote is enough. Although you still could be opening yourself up to fan backlash.

When all else fails, remember the famous Prince song (and acronym): K.I.S.S.

Keep it tasteful, everybody!

-Your friends from the Home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, where Prince will live on forever (sorry—definitely not in good taste).