Article by Brittany Carpenter | esPResso Committee Member
The chances are high that you know someone who is upset about Zayn Malik’s decision to amicably part ways with popular British boy band, One Direction. Malik is leaving the band for personal reasons, which leaves the group with only four members.
This latest development follows a statement from the band’s publicist, Simon Jones, announcing that Malik would be taking time off from the band’s current world tour due to stress. The news of Malik’s departure was delivered on Wednesday, March 25, via a post on the band’s Facebook page before it spread rapidly across multiple social media platforms. The statement from the band read:
After five incredible years Zayn Malik has decided to leave One Direction. Niall, Harry, Liam and Louis will continue as a four-piece and look forward to the forthcoming concerts of their world tour and recording their fifth album, due to be released later this year.
Zayn added: “After five years, I feel like it is now the right time for me to leave the band. I’d like to apologize to the fans if I’ve let anyone down, but I have to do what feels right in my heart. I am leaving because I want to be a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight.”
The other band members have expressed their full support of Malik’s choice but have chosen to remain silent about the departure on their individual Twitter accounts, presumably to not draw further attention to the situation.
Fans of the band have mixed reviews but took to social media to show their support and reminisce about Malik’s time with the band by using the hashtag #AlwaysinourheartsZaynMalik. This quickly became the top worldwide trend on Twitter following the release of the news. The band’s Facebook page, which has more than 37 million likes, received more than 200,000 comments on the post containing the statement within the first few hours of release.
Utilizing quick response skills, several companies took advantage of the situation and used the media attention to promote themselves. The chain restaurant Denny’s took to Twitter and reassured fans that they would help them cope with the news.
The young women’s organization, Girl Scouts, also made note of Malik’s departure, tweeting a photo of the singer surrounded in a heart made out of Girl Scout cookies. This was an excellent public relations move from the Girl Scouts to target its audience, as One Directon’s fan base is largely female.
Jackelyn Trivino, a junior at Marist, said, “I think it is really smart that these companies are staying on top of current trends, especially large news stories like this. It makes their products more relatable, and it is a fresh way to reach their target audience online.”
In addition to upsetting millions of fans, Malik’s decision to part ways with One Direction has given companies an opportunity to connect with their publics on social media.