A company advertising campaign offered to replace all capsules with untainted Tylenol “tablets” at a sizable discount (at further expense of several million dollars).
These actions caused customers and the media to view J&J as a company that could be trusted.
Parallel to these damage control efforts a crisis management team at the production subsidiary sprung into action and began drafting a longer-term strategic rehabilitation plan for “the days after.” Company spokespersons communicated with the workers to explain to them exactly what had taken place and assure them of the company’s faith in their professionalism and dedication.
These employees, in turn, served as sources of information for their immediate family, their neighbors and the medical community. The crisis management team in the Tylenol Crisis immediately studied the lessons learned and drafted a longer-term rehabilitation plan.
The successful way in which in which Johnson and Johnson managed the 1982 Tylenol medicine tampering crisis can offer valuable lessons for us today.
That tragic incident, which claimed the lives of seven innocent victims, caused nation-wide panic and prompted PR experts to doubt whether J&J would ever be able to overcome the setback.Burke gave high-profile media interviews, the company ran ads warning about the danger and established a hotline to dispense information.Despite evidence that only a small number of pharmacies in the Chicago area may have been at risk, Burke decided (against the opinions of his economic advisers, the FDA and FBI) to recall all Tylenol capsules nationwide – a total of 31 million bottles, at an expense of over a hundred million dollars.Media reporting would continue to focus on Tylenol killing people until more information about what caused the deaths was made available.Throughout the crisis over 100,000 separate news stories ran in U. newspapers, and hundreds of hours of national and local television coverage.Adopt concrete measures to rectify all shortcomings.Communicate these changes actively and transparently, in an unwavering, unified message.He told us that the medical examiner there had just given a press conference - people were dying from poisoned Tylenol. 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." The three broadcast news networks lead with the Tylenol story on the first day of the crisis.Communicate with your workers and involve them in your PR efforts.Undertake immediately a long-term strategic rehabilitation plan that will feature safe, quality products at substantial savings.