Amanda Mull, writing at The Atlantic:
This template that brands use to respond to a national crisis has become standard in recent years, as people experience collective trauma on the internet in real time. Images of police violence, school shootings, or racist attacks appear on the same social-media platforms where companies sell mascaras or sneakers or delivery services, often side by side. Contemporary marketing theory implores brands to show up where people naturally congregate online and engage with the topics they care about. That means riding the wave of memes and random topics that sustain social-media chatter, posting in the same formats as everyone else, often acting more like a friend than a company—even in times of tragedy.
This display of solidarity from Pop Tarts was my personal favorite. Sheesh. Then there’s the hypocritical garbage heap, known as the National Football League…
The NFL might be the most visibly anti-protest brand to nonetheless attempt to link itself sympathetically to the state violence perpetrated against black Americans. Since the San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem in silent protest of police brutality in 2016, he has been unable to get a job in the league even as teams scrounge for competent players at his position. The NFL has repeatedly insisted that its teams did not collude against Kaepernick, and the league settled a lawsuit brought by him and his teammate Eric Reid in 2019. “The protesters’ reactions to these incidents reflect the pain, anger, and frustration that so many of us feel,” the NFL wrote on Twitter this weekend. The league promised that it was “committed to continuing the important work to address these systemic issues together with our players, clubs, and partners.”