Tylenol Crisis

Recently in one of my classes we have been discussing the Tylenol cases from 1982 pretty heavily.  We’ve been debating the PR strategies used then and how Tylenol handled the crisis. 

For a little background, Tylenol bottles in a Chicago suburb were poisoned with Cyanide killing consumers who took the infected pills and causing a recall of nearly 4.7 million capsules.

The PR strategies Tylenol used during this time of crisis were the norm for that time era but how would they have handled the situation in current day?  Tylenol released multiple formal apologies, recalled millions of pills, implementing new packaging strategies to ensure this is not likely to happen again, and had to rebuild their credibility from the ground up. 

In the time when this happened clearly social media did not exist and consumers had to rely strictly on traditional media for all information on the situation.  Good or bad?  

There are two sides to this, as with most everything.

People tend to make up stories and release information that isn’t necessarily always true from personal standpoints and that couldn’t happen in this situation.  Who knows how much the story would have escalated if that were possible.  Virtually all information you knew you be true. 

News would reach consumers faster.  Could having that media outlet have saved some of those deaths?  If you read the article first online without having to wait for the story to be published and reach you, would that have been a difference?  Maybe consumers would get the facts first and throw out their Tylenol earlier. 

The ultimate question does getting media coverage faster and easier change the way we view that media?

Think about how companies handle crisis that directly affect their consumers today and how Tylenol would react differently with the different media outlets available today.




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