Saturday, February 24, 2007

Tastes Like Chicken

I'm watching the "who screwed up in marketing and communications this week" news on my local cable station NECN. They lead with JetBlue, who after the maelstrom seems to be okay. They do a short piece on the TJ Maxx ever-growing "we didn't know data could be compromised like that" story. They move onto a bad idea from Cadbury-Schweppes - another idiotic marketing stunt with the grand prize being hidden in the nearly 400 year old historic Old Granary Burying Ground. No, the the bomb squad didn't blow anything up this time, but "hello?" the advertising community should maybe focus on Baltimore or St. Louis or Albuquerque for the next rounds of stupidity. NECN finishes with a quick piece on the KFC/Taco Bell rat story.

All of this was wrapped in a crisis-manager opinion blanket. How could these companies have managed their situations better? The crisis manager people suggest these four things to stave off the snowball effect:

- Respond quickly - with facts
- Apologize
- Give assurances and clear steps for correction
- Learn from your mistakes
They gave JetBlue props for its handling of the blizzard screw up, smacked KFC over the rats and hit TJ Maxx the hardest for virtually not responding to the problem.

All of this was really useful after a hellish week for some marketers. My husband's take on the KFC thing was to ask if those qualified as "free range rats" or other KFC menus items that had not yet been cooked. I'm wondering if they aren't just drumsticks we haven't met.

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