Have brands learned not to co-opt serious Twitter trends?

At least so far, no big brand has attempted to leverage the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial to promote itself. Perhaps it’s an evolution.

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Zimmerman’s name and hashtags associated with the trial, such as #JusticeforTrayvon, were trending topics most of Sunday. Reactions ran the gamut from celebration to righteous anger. Two NFL players, the New York Giants’ Victor Cruz and the Atlanta Falcons’ Roddy White, had to apologize for tweets asserting that Zimmerman and the jury would or should be killed.

When emotions run high and Twitter becomes a platform for debate about a tragic event or a high-profile criminal case, it’s not unusual for people to let their anger get the better of them. Also fairly common: Brand accounts stepping in, using a hashtag about a serious debate to promote a product or service, and looking totally clueless in the process.

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