On Saturday (9 November), Kellogg’s UK posted the following on its Twitter account: "1 RT = 1 breakfast for a vulnerable child"; part of its Give a Child a Breakfast campaign.
The post triggered a deluge of criticism acrossTwitter, with consumers taking umbrage at the suggestion that deprived children would only receive a breakfast should the campaign garner enough support, otherwise they would go hungry.
"@KelloggsUK: 1RT = 1 breakfast for a vulnerable child" Anyone else find this kinda creepy? Like sayin "Help us advertise or kids go hungry"— James Wong (@Botanygeek) November 9, 2013
@KelloggsUK sick bastards, if you have the capability to feed vulnerable children then do so. This is sickening.— Perry (@AdamDanielPerry) November 10, 2013
How not to handle your digital strategy "@KelloggsUK: 1 RT = 1 breakfast for a vulnerable child"— Naomi Kerbel (@SkyNKtweets) November 10, 2013
I have just endorsed @KelloggsUK on LinkedIn for PR.— Moose Allain (@MooseAllain) November 10, 2013
Yesterday, Kellogg’s tweeted an apology:
We want to apologise for the recent tweet, wrong use of words. It's deleted. We give funding to school breakfast clubs in vulnerable areas.— Kellogg's UK (@KelloggsUK) November 10, 2013
However, the apology did not stem the flow of opprobrium, with users saying the issue ran deeper than a "wrong use of words" and that the notion of a publicity campaign built on vulnerable children was reprehensible.
Kellogg’s Give a Child a Breakfast campaign has a dedicated website where it tells visitors: "Sadly, 1 in 7 children in the UK goes to school without breakfast every day. Together we can donate 2 MILLION breakfasts to children in need. To help, simply Share, Tweet, Watch or Buy a special pack of Kellogg's."