in the spotlight

Skittles Becomes a Symbol of Trayvon Martin Shooting Protests

Posted by Abe Sauer on March 21, 2012 02:16 PM

As the tragic story of Trayvon Martin picks up steam, Skittles has (unintentionally) taken on the role of brand representative for a movement.

Taste the rainbow… of social justice.

The shooter, a local resident and self-appointed leader of the community watch program (with a conceal carry weapons permit) claimed Martin had attacked him. After Martin's death, it was revealed the 17-year-old with a spotless record only carried a bag of candy and a can of ice tea. Recently released records of the 911 call, where the gunshot could be heard, shocked many and took the shooting to the national level.

As the case grows into a national incident, with U.S. federal authorities now investigating what local police force declined to pursue, Martin's last purchase before his death has become the calling card of a drive for justice.

Protesters showing up at the daily rallies in Florida have taken to carrying bags of the multi-color candy. "Please don't shoot me!! I only have Skittles and a drink," reads one protester's sign. "SKITTLES = DEADLY WEAPON ???????" reads another. In news footage of those rallying in Florida, clutched bags of Skittles can be seen.

Organizers of a huge rally scheduled to take place in front of the Sanford, FL city hall on March 26th have called for attendees to carry a bag of Skittles, "like the candy Trayvon Martin was carrying the night of his death."

Meanwhile, a much-forwarded online petition calls for those outraged by the tragedy to mail packets of Skittles "to Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee to convince him to open the investigation of Martin’s murder."

Twitter has lit up with mentions of the brand.

As the outrage over the shooting shows no signs of dying down, it's possible that carrying a bag of Skittles could take on a whole viral cultural statement. Some even think the phenomenon leaves Skittles with an opportunity to speak out. Thoughts?


Karen McDowell United States says:

I can't believe that nothing has been done on the shooting. I guess he thinks he's a big man. He needs to experience the pain that family is going through. He needs to be behind bars.

March 22, 2012 11:24 PM #

Ebony Princess United States says:

I think Skittles became part of the story inadvertently and it would be inappropriate for M&M Mars insert themselves into the story because it would be seen as them attempting to capitalize on the national exposure.

As a matter of fact, yesterday a representative offered a short and sweet reply to the issue: "We are deeply saddened by the news of Trayvon Martin’s death and express our sincere condolences to his family and friends. We also respect their privacy and feel it inappropriate to get involved or comment further as we would never wish for our actions to be perceived as an attempt of commercial gain following this tragedy."


On a personal level I love Skittles and purchase the candy often.

March 24, 2012 09:53 PM #

Isha Edwards United States says:

Wrigley, a division of Virginia-based Mars Inc., responded appropriately. Different from Etch A Sketch, this is not the occasion to capitalize or jump on a social media fueled campaign.

Initial reports say Skittles and Arizona Iced Tea were Martin's last purchase and subsequent reports say he had a "bag of candy and a drink”. For brands to react to what is still a developing, criminal story could prove detrimental especially if a trail or later facts reveal contrary or adverse details.


March 26, 2012 11:04 PM #

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