The death on Oct. 17 of Lawrence Foster, 88, former VP-PR of Johnson & Johnson, has touched off a slew of false references to how J&J reacted in the wake of seven people dying in 1982 after taking poisoned Tylenol Extra Strength capsules.
All too often flawed responses to PR crises needlessly keep disasters in the news. Here are several examples that resulted in additional negative media coverage or, at the best, didn't help the situation.
Ferrara Candy Company, the hundred-year-old maker of iconic candy like Atomic Fireballs and Jaw Busters, is leaning on PR support as it recalls large packages of Brach's Malted Milk Balls beacuse they may contain undeclared nuts, an allergy hazard.
"It's not the proper time to manage the company's image," an Asiana PR rep told the Wall Street Journal, which finds airline industry officials baffled at the airline's decision in the wake of the San Francisco crash.
Paula Deen, the disgraced TV chef who broke into tears on the "Today" show this morning, has relied on her Los Angeles PR firm and brought in additional counsel since the crisis sparked by her admission to using a racial epithet in a deposition.
But she sure has made a king-sized calamity of her run-in with racism.
Every move she's made to tamp down her crisis – from reneging on a "Today" show interview to prematurely announcing (by about three hours) a You Tube response to finally issuing and then retracting said response – has only burned the sassy Savannah chef even further.
Let's review her crisis management mistakes thus far and figure out how she gets her mojo back; and she can if she acts quickly and is smart...
Hill+Knowlton Strategies is providing advice and communications counsel for Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex that fell two years ago to an earthquake and tsunami.