Week 4 Post – Tylenol Case Study

Chapter 7 (while I know it’s not assigned yet) consits of two “text-book” crisis. Please read the Tylenol Murders. We’ve already discussed this case in class so now let’s discuss it here.

The Tylenol case is considered a landmark case in crisis communication. The PR Director, Robert Kniffen, is seen as handling the case with professionalism and is often benchmarked as an expert.

From Chapters 1-6 apply what you have leared thus far. Analyze the case, identify the stages of crisis communication, tell me about how Johnson and Johnson handled internal, external, and media communications. Also, was there anything that you read in this case study that surprised you. If so what was it and why?


Week 3 – Ch 3 & 4

Choose one question to answer – be sure to respond to others posts and take part in our online discussions!

Chapter 3 question for discussion:

In these days of swift delivery of information, often the news media inform the organization of its crisis. What are the advantages of knowing about your crisis before the news media? This also points to the need to have a positive relationship with the news media, so that you may be notified before, or as soon as, news is delivered via broadcast or Internet (see Johnson & Johnson and the Tylenol Murders). What should an organization do to maintain this positive relationship?

Evaluate the pre-crisis relationships at the places of business where you have worked (or where you work now). Were the pre-crisis relationships sound? Consider all types, including management–employee, management–news media, management–lawyer, and management–customer/client pre-crisis relationships.

Chapter 4 questions for discussion:

Search for and discuss crises or problems in your city or community. This could include businesses where you work or a political situation where a crises occurred. If so, how were the news media managed? What was the contact with lawyers? Did lawyers control the communications? What was the communication with internal publics? What was the communication with external publics?

What are the risks or dangers of not responding to the news media even when the information is negative to your organization?   Why is it best to tell one’s own bad news?

Week 2 – Crisis Communication Theories

Chapters 2 & 3 contain quite a bit of information. Very theory based information – so in an effort to create rich discussion I’m going to expand the time we’ll be disucssing the material here.

I have put out a few of my thoughts on the various theories (mainly Ch 2) – respond to one of my statements, then please include which theory you found most interesting, profound or meaningful and then tell us why.

IMPORTANT NOTE: There are 8 people in our class – only 2 can choose the same topic.

Last minute inclusion into the discussion – this article just came through on Carnival Cruise line’s crisis response to the Italian ship sinking – please add a couple thoughts on this as well related to the theories presented.

Image restoration theory can be an intriguing theory to maNy. Ferns-Bank (2011) states “Sometimes, it’s better to remain silent on the issue. At other times, it is best to tell your own bad news” (pg. 52). In class I’ve said we should always speak – how do you react to this statement by our author? Also, when would it be appropriate to stay silent?

Some argue that Decision Theory is the “foundation theory” of all crisis communication theory.  It is about helping leaders make the most effective decision in dealing with crisis in an organization.  With that being said, how would you handle advising leaders through a crisis?

Your workbook includes an excellent question – “what makes it difficult to use Model 4 of the excellence theory in a crisis?” So what makes it so difficult – please also include your thoughts in general on the Grunig/Repper theory.

Finally, build upon some arguments our author made regarding the excellence theory. The book mentioned that at least 15 percent of practitioners practice the first model, despite how poor it is. What are your reactions to this?

Week 1 Discussion

Chapter 1 talks quite a bit about crisis situations and crisis communication, our author also outlines the five stages of a crisis, as well as highlight’s White Star Line’s Titanic Sinks.

This week I want each of you to discuss the various theories presented in our readings, what they mean to you thus far into the semester, how you can see the various theories in application in a business setting, and how they relate directly to crisis communication.

In addition, from your workbooks, please choose EITHER one of the Activities or one of the Discussion/Essay from pg. 2 in the workbooks and address the question being asked. You can combine your responses.

Be sure to check back frequently through out the week, as I do comment and ask questions. It is also important that you respond to at least 2 classmates.

Ashley Madison Ad Promotes Female Body Shaming

Married and seeking an affair?  I first heard of this on Tyra. I was surprised to find out that CNN, Good Morning America, Ellen, The View and of course Larry King Live have all featured this topic on their shows. Sounds disturbing but supposedly 10 million people are doing just that. Ashley Madison is a dating service targeting specifically married people.  This “married dating service for discreet encounters” offers several membership packages, the most expensive package of course “guarantees an affair.” In other words its a faithful spouses worst nightmare. The site launched in 2001 and has been causing controversy ever since. Recently the company released a new ad  that offers several disturbing messages. The ad depicts an image of a plus size woman posing in lingerie. Above her is  the caption “Did your wife scare you last night?” Yes, they really said that. Some sexist and insensitive marketing executives must have thought that hadn’t caused enough damage because shortly after another equally offensive ad, with the exact same model was released.

It’s clear what they’re trying to say. I guess they found this to be humorous and perhaps relate-able to the men they market to. Either way they should have known it would cause outrage amongst women and anyone with an ounce of compassion. While the ad promotes infidelity (as to be expected) it clearly mocks a very serious issue, body shaming.  Jacqueline, the plus size model featured in the ad takes to the internet to express her disgust in this article titled  “I’m The ‘Scary’ Model In The Awful Ashley Madison Ad.” Although, it is very clear that this photo was taken voluntarily. She states that the photo was shot by a friend before her career began. The company allegedly used the photos without her consent. She states in her article:

“I had no idea that the photographer would endeavor to sell the photos to corporations and/or stock photo companies, who would then go on, repeatedly, to use them in rude and mocking ways.”

Since their launch the company has given us a vivid perspective on what they think of marriage and women. If it were not clear already. Through provocative commercials and  advertisements to back their position, it’s clear that their marketing team isn’t biting their tongues for anyone. Aside from the whole infidelity issue, their approach is direct and in-your-face. It may even serve as adequate validation in the eyes of their biggest niche market , the cheater.  Nonetheless the ad is offensive and wildly inappropriate in the context it was used.  For such a big oops you would think that maybe an apology would be issued to Jacqueline.  I often like to think that CEO’s and the people higher up have just a lick of common sense.


Once the ads went viral in several publications. The CEO , Noel Biderman offered some words of encouragement, or maybe not, to the angry model.

“The best thing that could’ve happened to this woman is that we used her in our ad. Despite what she may want you to think, she is reaping the press for her own pornography website. She took these pictures and signed the release knowing that they were” not just for ‘personal use.’ However, if she can get great publicity from this, all the power to her.”

According to Chapter 6 of our textbook, more specifically “the four essential steps of effective public relations,” Ashley Madison did a lot of things right. They clearly researched their target audience, married people and found ways to appeal directly to them. Below you will find a video of an Ashley Madison Ad, that was banned from the 2011 Super Bowl. The first is the actual commercial. The second video features CEO Noel Biderman , and he states that

“There’s a notion out there that we’re inventing infidelity but really its been around a lot longer than our business has.  So were out there creating commercials like this, placing them on high end media and we’re attracting tons of audiences to it and that’s why we keep going through these hoops”

Now for those of us that aren’t interested in cheating we find it quite offensive. Though from a public relations point of view these type of ads are yes shocking but certainly get the message across. Our book talks about defining audiences and segmenting public’s. The company understands that this isn’t for everyone so they’re able to make these connections and try to win people over.  Are they right for it? Maybe not. Will someone buy into that ad? Yes they will. Some campaigns may be offensive like this one but for this specific lifestyle their are certain points of view that are tolerated. They’ve used their research wisely and concocted  a message that appeals specifically to their main audience.

What do you think? Can Jacqueline benefit from being the punch line of a bad joke? Is it in her best interest to take advantage of being exploited? Aside from being controversial do you think their approach is effective?

Sheheriana Love

UFC steroid problem?

Performance enhancing drugs in sports has been a problem for a very long time. Yet these sports are still around. When Mark McGuire and Barry Bonds were caught with steroids, the MLB population was in an uproar. But that was never going to be enough to end the American past time. When Barrett Roberts and Chris Cooper confessed to taking steroids in the NFL, football didn’t go away. It seems like almost any professional athlete can take performance enhancing drugs and get away with it. If they get caught, there is a slap on the wrist, a suspension a fine, and then they’re back on the field. This works for almost all main stream sports. NBA, MLB, NFL, NHL, but what about the Mixed Martial Art profession?

If you take steroids in any of these other sports, they may help you run faster, jump higher, or increase your stamina to play longer. If steroids are taken in the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC), they help you beat the crap out of another person. So not only are you putting yourself at risk with these drugs, you’re putting another human being at risk.

The UFC has been trying to build its reputation as a sport since Royce Gracie helped found it in 1993. In the beginning the

Dana White, President of the UFC

sport had a very hard time gaining support due to its violent nature, and lack of regulation. The league was later sold to the Fertitta brothers, and Dana White was appointed president. The PR work that the current owners put into the UFC is what made it into what it is today. Branching out to the younger generations in the United States, and appealing to their more violent nature, the sport was wildly accepted around the world, but still not at the same level as the NBA or NHL. So when news got out of fighters taking steroids, the National Association of Sports Commissions went to work, but what about the UFC PR manager?

When it came to growing the UFC as a brand, the Public Relations team, lead by former PR manager Jen Wenk, did a great job. But when hit with a controversy that could possibly end the entire sport and the UFC along with it, they are nowhere to be seen. So are they doing their jobs correctly or not? I think that they are doing their jobs perfectly. None of this has been on the news at all. You have to be pretty specific in order to find out anything about the steroid scandal, and every video I’ve seen of president Dana White has him denouncing the use of steroids and totally staying away from the issue with the fighter involved (Chael Sonnen) specifically. He says “I’m not getting involved in this thing. It’s Chael, His people, and the athletic commission that are going to have to work this thing out.”

This video shows Dana White expressing his feelings towards the NASC. He exemplifies his lack of power and therefore the UFC’s lack of responsibility. There are at least two other videos were Dana says the exact same thing, which leads me to believe he was told to say it by his PR manager.

So directing the media away from the UFC and steroids and making this an isolated incident seems to be the play that they are making, and so far it’s working out for them. The UFC is still alive and scheduling fights, and the news of steroid use has been limited to few internet webcasts, and a few disgruntled ant-MMA proponents. But will this work forever?

This strategy is working now, but what will happen when another fighter is found with steroids? Do you think that this strategy will always work?

-Michael Elkins

Kim Kardashian’s 72 day marriage to Kris Humphries: Special Event PR tactic or really Irreconcilable differences??

Celebrity icon Kim Kardashian’s marriage to New Jersey Nets basketball player Kris Humphries ended after only 72 days of marriage.  The couple married on August 20, 2011 and Kardashian filed for divorce October 31st. Is this a brilliant  PR tactic to increase personal revenue and E!’s television ratings or simply a marriage that took a turn for the worst?

E! network put out a statement claiming that that the rumors of the wedding and marriage being a publicity stunt by the network “completely false” although the first episode of the Kardashian-Humphries wedding scored the highest rating on E! network in history! Sounds questionable to me!  Kardashian announced the divorce on her blog via her website (www.kimkardashian.celebuzz.com).

Kim became a trending topic on twitter #ThingsLongerThanKimsMarriage and became the center of mockery with all the allegations of her planned divorce.

Kim Kardashian replied to all the buzz about the rumors of allegedly marrying solely for the media  profit, “First and foremost, I married for love. I can’t believe I even have to defend this. I would not have spent so much time on something just for a tv show.” and that her “intuition” led her to end the marriage.

This makes me begin to question isn’t time money?  The Kardashian and Humphries wedding cost an estimated $10 million and wedding profit estimated at $18 million. According to our Think Public Relations book it says that PR professionals rely on a toolbox full of best known tactics including special events. Pure Brilliance right?