Snack Twitter has officially joined Bird Twitter as one of the more uplifting communities in the troll-filled universe of Twitter dot com.
It all started with an ennui-filled tweet from the official corporate account of Sunny Delight, aka SunnyD—a tangy, corn-syrup-filled, orange-flavored beverage for children, popularized in the US during the 1980s. That prompted the after-school snacks of Twitter to come to its aid.
The original tweet by SunnyD was in reference to Sunday’s Super Bowl game, which sports fans and commentators agreed was a bad and boring time for everyone involved. But stripped of that context, the tweet did sound rather, well, depressed. So it struck many as quite heartwarming when the corporate accounts of SunnyD’s fellow snacks immediately inquired about the health and mental state of the syrupy orange drink. MoonPie, Pop-Tarts, Little Debbie, Corn Nuts, and several other snacks took to Twitter to comfort SunnyD:
In a now-deleted tweet, the purveyor of sugary bodega treats Little Debbie offered tips for coping with depression:
The SunnyD tweet also got the light meme treatment by both regular Twitter users and other corporate Twitter accounts:
But others called the whole thing a rather cynical corporate exercise. The AV Club described the wave of snack food brands that came to SunnyD’s aid as “like flies to a fresh corpse,” in “what was sure to be an amusing portrait of Brands Acting Like People.” And of course, mental health crises are nothing to laugh about, pointed out some, noting that without context SunnyD’s tweet read like a cryptic cry for help:
Eater echoed the Twitter backlash, arguing that a tweet about mental health should not be used as a brand engagement strategy. It pointed out that the internet is on high alert for users that are displaying signs of being mentally unwell, and there have lately been several incidents of high-profile humans taking to social media to share troubling messages about their mental health—messages that prompted friends, family, and fans to respond.
The Twitter account @BrandsSayingBae—a watchdog account that calls out corporate Twitter content that’s either made by a teen, or is trying very hard to sound like it is—offered a succinct explanation for SunnyD tweet and the phenomenon of corporate accounts that display personalities:
So, even if your favorite childhood snacks bonding on Twitter is sort of charming, it’s worth remembering that ultimately, it’s a bunch of corporations trying their damnedest to drum up interest in their products. There’s no harm in being amused, but it’s certainly worth remaining skeptical of any brand that acts like a person.