When is too soon, too soon?
Yesterday we lost a great man of broadcasting. Last month, we lost a great man of music. There have been so many losses recently – individuals and groups, here in the UK and beyond. As always, the volume of feeling has echoed across social networks.
The outpouring of emotion for David Bowie caused a wonderful groundswell effect just around the corner from our office, in Brixton, South London and birthplace of the British singer, where fans gathered for a mass sing-along of his most famous tracks. Photos and videos of this heartfelt, impromptu tribute, have been widely shared online – Vice collated these images of the event.
— VICE UK (@VICEUK) January 12, 2016
The flowers, messages and social sharing continues, now two weeks later and likely far beyond, and rightly so.
At the time of writing this, #TerryWogan is trending on Twitter. I shall miss his distinctive British voice, it is one with which I am particularly familiar, I grew up with Terry. I remember sitting with my Pa, watching Terry on television every Saturday night when I was a little girl. His annual EuroVision commentary always made me giggle, and I my clearest memory is his voice on Radio 2, in the car every morning in my early career, when I worked as an advertising sales rep. He will be missed.
Too soon for what?
The jokes are inevitable – the rush to be crowned most witty by way of RT count, is a reflection of how humans behave.
David Bowie’s fans had a street party in Brixton. Terry Wogan’s fans should have a traffic jam on the M4.
— Ben Stanley (@BDStanley) January 31, 2016
Laugh, or don’t laugh, snigger or sigh – humour and grief have stood together long before the Twitterati asked if it was “too soon?”.
As the wave of conversations and content flows around social networks, brand accounts are presented with the chance to take part in the big story – not necessarily penning a snarky joke, but perhaps paying a tribute in a blog article (like this one, or this one by Saatchi Gallery) or RTing a news report.
When big names pass away, I cringe as there follows an uncomfortable wave of clunky, disingenuous, leaps on the bandwagon by brands. Is it always “too soon” for brands to take part in such subjects?
Brands Take Care
By taking part in this kind of news, a brand without a genuine connection, runs more risks than there might be rewards.
With the best intentions and a sworn commitment to “talk like a human”, the question of when is “too soon” is one every brand must take care to answer.