Case Study of There's a Syringe in My Pepsi Can!

Topics: Public relations, Newspaper, Pepsi Pages: 3 (1054 words) Published: June 16, 2007
Case study of There's a Syringe in My Pepsi Can!

Background
Pepsi-Cola is a soft drink produced by PepsiCo. This soft drink was first introduced on August 28, 1898 by pharmacist Caleb Bradham. This paper is a case study of a hoax perpetrated on PepsiCo on June 9, 1993. It all began when an 82-year-old man, Earl (Tex) Triplett and his wife Mary Triplett said that they had found a syringe similar to that used by diabetics in a can of Diet Pepsi. The can was turned over to their lawyer, which could be the first signs of trouble in this case, then to the county health officials. The FDA then issued regional advisory urging consumers to empty the content of their Diet Pepsi cans before drinking. This is when the flood gates opened. This warning then prompted national media attention within 24 hours. How PepsiCo handled the crisis

With the frightening images of syringes in Diet Pepsi cans and the upcoming July 4th holiday sales period PepsiCo needed to react immediately. The FDA had recommended recall of Diet Pepsi but PepsiCo knew that with the manufacturing process they had established that the syringe could not have gotten into the can during the canning process and would use high-speed filming of this process to prove to consumers that this was not the cause of the contamination by the syringe. Pepsi relied on their well established crisis response guidelines. In response to other crisis problems that has happened over the years, namely the Tylenol scare, PepsiCo had evolved their crisis plan from a rudimentary product recall plan into a more sophisticated communications network plan. They did this by benchmarking Johnson & Johnson's crisis plan. This was needed to preserve Pepsi's trademark and the company's $8 billion business. The job of the public relations group was to help established communications to the different publics involved including the consumers, the media, shareholders, employees, bottlers and even regulatory officials. A leading crisis...

References: McLoughlin, Barry. "Crisis Communication Series" 6 June 2000 http://www.mclomedia.com
Crocker, Catherine. "Pepsi Thanks Loyal Consumers In Ad Campaign." Associated Press 19 June 1993
Public Relations Practices: Managerial Case Studies and Problems, Sixth Edition Pg 325- 330
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