I. Background Information/ Additional Perspectives
A. Exxon Valdez Oil Spill
March 24, 1989 marked the date of the largest oil tanker spill in the history of United States as the tanker Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of oil into Alaska’s Prince William Sound. This incident put Exxon into a crisis as it made the Alaskan region into a worldwide symbol of environmental chaos. The enormity of the ecological ruin and the phenomenal task of cleanup caught the attention of the many nations. Many workers and volunteers flooded the area for its restoration which required extensive labor and $2.1 billion of Exxon funding. The crisis is blamed to the following reasons: the faults were Exxon’s inadequate equipments on the ship and the insufficient number of trained members. Another thing is that a crew was unable to maneuver the ship properly due to exhaustion with work aboard. It was also traced that Captain Joseph Hazelwood was under the influence of alcohol which was the reason why he cannot give proper instructions to the staff. Hazelwood's activities in town and on the ship are the main focuses of the investigation. This also became the basis of widespread media sensation. Indeed, Exxon’s reputation suffered severely. Some Public Relation Practitioners said that Exxon seriously worsened the damage to the public due to its slow and insufficient responses. Exxon also failed to establish itself as a company concerned about the problems it had caused. As a matter of fact Lawrence Rawl, Exxon’s chairman waited about a week before commenting on the crisis and almost three weeks before visiting the location of the spill. B. Johnson and Johnson: Tylenol
In 1982, Tylenol, the top selling pain-killer medicine in the United States and Johnson and Johnson’s bestselling product faced a big dilemma when seven people in Chicago were announced dead after taking extra-strength Tylenol capsules that had been contaminated with cyanide. Mary Kellerman of Elk Grove Village, Illinois; Adam Janus of Arlington Heights, Illinois; Stanley Janus and Theresa Janus of Lisle, Illinois; Mary McFarland of Elmhurst; Paula Prince of Chicago; and Mary Reiner of Winfield, Illinois died after taking the extra strength Tylenol. Based on a test, 65 milligrams of cyanide, ten thousand times the five to seven micrograms was infected by an unknown suspect into Tylenol capsules. This is more than enough to kill a person. The Law Enforcement believed that the tampering took place once the product is placed on the store shelves. They were removed from the shelves, inserted with cyanide and returned to the shelves. The suspect selected the stores where he could place the contaminated bottles of medicine. Investigators found six bottles of poisoned capsules at six different outlets in the Chicago area. As a result, J&J Tylenol who controlled 37 percent of its market, reaching $1.2 million as its earnings declined in its market share to seven percent.
Johnson and Johnson, spearheaded by James Burke made quick and appropriate actions during the crisis. Announcements were made immediately to warn the public when the Tylenol capsules were determined as the cause of the reported deaths. A product recall was made for about 31 million bottles causing $100 million dollars. Even if J&J is not liable for the tainting of the capsules, they took charge of ensuring the safety of the public through their visibility and concern. J&J found new tactics on marketing their product. Tylenol products were re-introduced containing a triple-seal tamper resistant packaging to avoid the situation to happen again. Also, they offered a $2.50 off coupon on the purchase of their product. They extended their reach as they appeared in the newspapers and television programs. At the same time queries of the customers were entertained through calling in their toll-free number. J&J made a new pricing program that gave consumers up to 25% off...
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