In 1993, Liverpool added a pair of eternal flames to their crest as a tribute to the 96 people who died in the Hillsborough disaster. And in 2015, Dunkin’ Donuts, a corporate partner of the club, decided to replace those flames with pictures of iced coffee in a parody of the crest. This, needless to say, was not well received.
The image was intended to promote a social media initiative involving personalized crests, but instead it served as an insult to the most terrible chapter in the club’s history.
The backlash was swift and the image was deleted, but the damage had been done and the “multi-million pound global partnership” signed last year was tainted.
In 2012, Liverpool kitmaker Warrior (which, like Dunkin’, is a U.S.-based company), angered Hillsborough families by only featuring the Liver Bird on the front of the shirt and moving the flames to the back.
According to the LA Times, Dunkin’ has apologized for the image.
“We apologize for any insensitivity regarding our tweet supporting an LFC-themed promotion featuring the LFC Crest,” according to a statement sent to the Los Angeles Times. “As a proud partner of LFC, we did not intend any offense, particularly to the Club’s supporters. We have removed the tweet and halted the campaign immediately.”
If only Dunkin’ had just stuck to pictures of donut mascots at Anfield, this all could have been avoided.