PREPARED BY

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ZALIHA IDRIS 8 MARC 2011

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Crisis communication is something every public affairs officer will deal with at one time or another. Organizations that fail to communicate adequately with various audiences during a crisis can suffer serious consequences. A crisis was defined as a significant threat to operations that can have negative consequences if not handled properly. Webster's Dictionary (1990, pg. 307) defines a crises as;
´An unstable or crucial time or state of affairs in which a decisive change is impending; especially one with the distinct possibility of a highly undesirable outcomeµ.

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A crisis can create three related threats (Dilenschneider, 2000):
1. Public safety 2. Financial loss 3. Reputation loss

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In 1982, McNeil Consumer Products, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, was confronted with a crisis, authorities determined that each of the people that died, had ingested an ExtraStrength Tylenol capsule laced with cyanide. The news of this incident travelled quickly and was the cause of a massive, nationwide panic. These poisonings made it necessary for Johnson & Johnson to launch a public relations program immediately, in order to save the integrity of both their product and their corporation as a whole.

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Tylenol was the most successful over-the-counter product in the United States with over one hundred million users. Tylenol accounted for 13 percent of Johnson & Johnson's year-to-year sales growth and 33 percent of the company's year-to-year profit growth. Tylenol was the absolute leader in the painkiller field accounting for a 37 percent market share, outselling the next four leading painkillers combined, including Anacin, Bayer, Bufferin, and Excedrin. Had Tylenol been a corporate entity unto itself, profits would have placed it in the top half of the Fortune 500 (Berge, 1998).

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During the fall of 1982, for reasons not known, a malevolent person or persons, presumably unknown, replaced Tylenol Extra-Strength capsules with cyanide-laced capsules, resealed the packages, and deposited them on the shelves of at least a half-dozen or so pharmacies, and food stores in the Chicago area. The poison capsules were purchased, and seven unsuspecting people died a horrible death. Johnson & Johnson, parent company of McNeil Consumer Products Company which makes Tylenol, suddenly, and with no warning, had to explain to the world why its trusted product was suddenly killing people.

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The initial media reports focused on the deaths of American citizens from a trusted consumer product. In the beginning the product tampering was not known, thus the media made a very negative association with the brand name.

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When 12 year-old Mary Kellerman of Elk Grove Village, Ill., awoke at dawn with cold symptoms, her parents gave her one Extra-Strength Tylenol and sent her back to bed. Little did they know, they would wake up at 7:00 a.m. to find their daughter dying on the bathroom floor. (Beck, 32) That same morning, Adam Janus, 27, of Arlington Heights, Ill., took Extra- Strength Tylenol to appease a minor chest pain. An hour later, Janus suffered a cardiopulmonary collapse and died suddenly. That very evening, when relatives gathered at Janus' home, Adam's brother Stanley, 25, and his wife Theresa, 19, took Tylenol from the same bottle that had killed their loved one. They were both pronounced dead within the next 48 hours. (Tifft, 18)

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Mary Reiner, 27, of the neighbouring suburb, Winfield, died after taking two Tylenol capsules the next day. Reiner, who was dead within hours at the local hospital, had just recently given birth to her fourth child. Paula Prince, 35, a United Airlines stewardess, was found dead in her Chicago apartment with an open bottle of Extra- Strength Tylenol nearby. Mary McFarland, 31, of Elmhurst, Ill., was the seventh victim of the cyanide-laced Tylenol capsules. (Beck, 32) (Tifft, 18)

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1. 2.

Johnson & Johnson chairman, James Burke, reacted to the negative media coverage by forming a seven-member strategy team. "How do we protect the people?" "How do we save this product?" Told consumers not to resume using the product until the extent of the tampering could be determined. Stopping the production and advertising of Tylenol Withdraw all Tylenol capsules from the store shelves in Chicago and the surrounding area Sympathy strategy was a big component of Johnson & Johnson's crisis communication strategy. Sympathy strategy wins support from the public by portraying the organization as the unfair victim of an attack from an outside entity (Berg & Robb, 1992).

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Robert Andrews, assistant director for public relations at Johnson & Johnson recalls how the company reacted in the first days of the crisis:
"We got a call from a Chicago news reporter. He told us that the medical examiner there had just given a press conference-people were dying from poisoned Tylenol. He wanted our comment. As it was the first knowledge we had here in this department, we told him we knew nothing about it. In that first call we learned more from the reporter than he did from us´.

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Andrew's dilemma points out something that has become more prevalent with the expansion of 24 hour electronic media. The media will often be the first on the scene, thus have information about the crisis before the organization does (Berge, 1990).

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Johnson & Johnson also used the media, both PR and paid advertising to communicate their strategy during the crisis. In the first week of the crisis Johnson & Johnson established a 1-800 hot line for consumers to call. They also establish a toll-free line for news organizations to call and receive pre-taped daily messages with updated statements about the crisis (Berge, 1990). Several major press conferences were held at corporate headquarters. Within hours an internal video staff set up a live television feed via satellite. Jim Burke got more positive media exposure by going on 60 Minutes and the Donahue show and giving the public his command messages.

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Along with the nationwide alert and the Tylenol recall, Johnson & Johnson established relations with the Chicago Police, the FBI, and the Food and Drug Administration. Johnson & Johnson was given much positive coverage for their handling of this crisis. (Atkinson, 2) (Broom, Center, Cutlip, 381) Johnson & Johnson provided the victim's families counselling and financial assistance even though they were not responsible for the product tampering.

1st PHASE € Actual handling of the crisis (The initial crisis response). € The initial crisis response guidelines focus on three points: (1) Be quick, (2) Be accurate, and (3) Be consistent. € Carney and Jorden (1993) note a quick response is active and shows an organization is in control. € Johnson & Johnson's public relations campaign was executed immediately following the discovery that the deaths in Chicago were caused by Extra- Strength Tylenol capsules.

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As the plan was constructed, Johnson & Johnson's top management put customer safety first, before they worried about their companies profit and other financial concerns. Table 4 provides a summary of the Initial Crisis Response Best Practices. The initial crisis response should be delivered in the first hour after a crisis and be vetted for accuracy. Content refers to what is covered in the initial crisis response. The initial message must provide any information needed to aid public safety, provide basic information about what has happened, and offer concern if there are victims.

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Table 4: Initial Crisis Response Best Practices 1. Be quick and try to have initial response within the first hour. . Be accurate y carefully checkin all facts. 3. Be consistent y keepin spokespeople informed of crisis events and key messa e points. 4. Make pu lic safety the num er one priority. 5. Use all of the availa le communication channels includin the Internet, Intranet, and mass notification systems. 6. Provide some expression of concern/sympathy for victims 7. Remem er to include employees in the initial response. 8. Be ready to provide stress and trauma counsellin to victims of the crisis and their families, includin employees.

2nd PHASE
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Reputation repair and behavioural intentions The comeback of both Johnson & Johnson and Tylenol in the public relations plan. The planning for phase two began almost as soon as phase one was being implemented. Chairman of the board, James E. Burke said, in regard to the comeback;
"It will take time, it will take money, and it will be very difficult; but we consider it a moral imperative, as well as good business, to restore Tylenol to it's preeminent position" (Johnson & Johnson).

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Over 2250 sales people from Johnson & Johnson domestic affiliates were asked by Johnson & Johnson to make presentations to people in the medical community. Table 5 presents the Master List of Reputation Repair Strategies. The reputation repair strategies vary in terms of how much they accommodate victims of this crisis. Accommodate means that the response focuses more on helping the victims than on addressing organizational concerns (Ulmer, Sellnow, and Seeger, 2006).

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Table 5: Master List of Reputation Repair Strategies 1.Attack the accuser: crisis manager confronts the person or group claiming something is wrong with the organization. 2.Denial: crisis manager asserts that there is no crisis. 3. Scapegoat: crisis manager blames some person or group outside of the organization for the crisis. 4. Excuse: crisis manager minimizes organizational responsibility by denying intent to do harm and/or claiming inability to control the events that triggered the crisis. 5. Provocation: crisis was a result of response to some one else·s actions. 6. Defeasibility: lack of information about events leading to the crisis situation. 7. Accidental: lack of control over events leading to the crisis situation. 8. Good intentions: organization meant to do well 9. Justification: crisis manager minimizes the perceived damage caused by the crisis. 10. Reminder: crisis managers tell stakeholders about the past good works of the organization. 11. Ingratiation: crisis manager praises stakeholders for their actions. 12. Compensation: crisis manager offers money or other gifts to victims. 13. Apology: crisis manager indicates the organization takes full responsibility for the crisis and asks stakeholders for forgiveness

Johnson &Johnson ran this ad in newspapers across the nation, on October 12, 1982

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On November 11, 1982, Johnson & Johnson communicated their new triple safety seal packaging- a glued box, a plastic sear over the neck of the bottle, and a foil seal over the mouth of the bottle, with a press conference at the manufacturer's headquarters. Inside a tight plastic seal surrounds the cap and an inner foil seal wraps over the mouth of the bottle. The label carries the warning: ´Do not use if safety seals are brokenµ. Tylenol became the first product in the industry to use the new tamper resistant packaging just 6 months after the crisis occurred (Berge, 1990).

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On January 3, 1983, a new ad campaign was begun. Johnson & Johnson ran a string of commercials to market Tylenol as the brand you can ´trustµ. Tylenol·s Rapid Comeback: September 17, 1983

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Nine years after the 1982 Tylenol murders, Johnson & Johnson finally settled with the families of seven victims. The settlement required complete silence from all family members.
´A person who would put poison in the Tylenol capsules clearly was a deranged person. Psychiatrists tell us that these people are saying they need help. These kinds of people know they are not well. They don't want to be called kooks; they don't mind being called sick. If that person came forward and asked for help, he would receive it, although that doesn't mean the person would not have to deal with the halls of justice'' (James Burke, 1986).

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The suits are being defended, said George S. Frazza, chief counsel for Johnson & Johnson, which is pleased with its success in restoring consumer confidence and is proud of its product. He said;
"It was clear this was a tampering act done at the store shelf level, and that the product was not at fault".

Open & honest communication Applied the Sympathy strategy Pull Tylenol advertising Continuing news conferences Handle 2,500 media queries Reintroduction: News conference with CEO James Burke, announce comeback plan at national sales conference Toll-free consumer number TV ads 2,250 sales people trained & dispatched for local medical presentations

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"We wrote them letters and we expressed our great sorrow and regret," Foster said. Originally they had considered the idea of setting up scholarships for the children affected by the deaths, but that idea fell through. "We couldn't be as open with them as we wanted, because the lawyers held us back," he added. "They were trying to protect the company." Lawsuits against J&J hit a wall after it was determined that the company itself had been a victim as well, Foster noted.

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J&J turned to its corporate philosophy from 1940s, "Our Credoµ, cites responsibility to consumers, employees, committees, and stockholders. Founder Robert Johnson believed credo was both moral and profitable; 

This credo was written in the mid-1940's by Robert Wood Johnson, the company's leader for 50 years. Little did Johnson know, he was writing an outstanding public relations plan. Johnson saw business as having responsibilities to society that went beyond the usual sales and profit incentives. 

The Tylenol crisis is without a doubt the most exemplary case ever known in the history of crisis communications. Any business executive, who has ever stumbled into a public relations ambush, ought to appreciate the way Johnson & Johnson responded to the Tylenol poisonings. The Johnson & Johnson Tylenol crisis is an example of how an organization should communicate with the various publics during a crisis. Johnson & Johnson's handing of the Tylenol crisis is clearly the example other companies should follow if they find themselves on the brink of losing everything. The organization's leadership set the example from the beginning by making public safety the organizations number one concern. 

Today Johnson & Johnson has completely recovered its market share lost during the crisis. The organization was able to re-establish the Tylenol brand name as one of the most trusted over-the-counter consumer products in American. Organizations must operate under the assumption that a crisis will hit the organization. Once this realization is understood organizations can proactively implement plans and strategies before a crises, which can help when a crises inevitably strikes the organization (Dougherty, 1992).