Allegedly defective products are always brand-threatening, but recent crises take on additional danger as problems are often traced to foreign countries, especially China, thus inciting even greater public anxiety. Dubbed the Year of the Recall, 2007 saw three major industries in crises–toys, pet food and spinach–that resulted in front-page coverage. LEVICK was a lead communications counselor in all three.
While each strategy was unique, the toy recall’s salient lessons are especially worth highlighting. As lawmakers and regulators sought to punish the whole industry for the rampant safety problems of Chinese-made toys, Hasbro, the world’s second-largest toymaker, was in danger of facing the same public censure as its competitor, even though Hasbro was not a target of regulatory interest.
LEVICK worked with Hasbro to design and implement a high-impact marketing plan called “Operation Gold Standard.” The goal was to unequivocally differentiate Hasbro from its competitors and reinforce its brand as the absolute best for product safety.
LEVICK’s strategy dramatically maximized public awareness of the safety of Hasbro products, and persistently reminded the public that the company was unaffected by the recall. As consumer anxiety was calmed and the trust of regulators reinforced, the Hasbro brand emerged stronger than ever. A crisis turned into an opportunity.
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