Tag Archives: public relations

Crisis Communication: Largest Smartphone Recall


The true test of a company’s marketing strength often comes to the front when a company is faced with crisis communication regarding its products or services. And this month, it’s Samsung’s turn in the spotlight for problems with its high-end smartphone, the Galaxy Note 7. The issue is that some customers have reported that their phones have caught fire due to the lithium-ion batteries. According to the Consumer Product Safety Division, in the U.S. there have been 92 reports of batteries overheating, 26 reports of burns, and 55 reports of property damage.

Samsung reacted quickly to the issue, but it has been a far from smooth process so far. No wonder – there are more than 2.5 million units of the Galaxy Note 7 in circulation, making it the largest recall of smartphones. Statements from Samsung and the Consumer Product Safety Division have not been totally in sync either, causing confusion among the smartphone owners as to the correct process to use.

Airlines are making multiple warnings that caution owners not to turn on the phones while on airplane. (Note: I was one several planes last week and heard multiple announcements about not using the phones on the planes – thanks, airlines!) This issue will undoubtedly hurt Samsung sales and stocks, particularly in conjunction with the recent announcements of new iPhone models. Replacement phones are due to be available in the U.S. by the end of September.

Be safe.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: How many have a Galaxy Note 7? How does the recall impact the students’ perceptions of Samsung?
  2. Discuss crisis communications and the importance of companies having a plan in place BEFORE a crisis occurs.
  3. View Samsung’s statement: http://news.samsung.com/us/2016/09/09/samsung-confirms-engagement-with-cpsc-consumer-product-safety-commission-in-response-to-note7-battery-issue/
  4. Have students review the statement and recall instructions. They might also use laptops to research the various instructions.
  5. View the Consumer Product Safety Commission Web site information: http://www.cpsc.gov/
  6. What other products have safety issues? How will these impact a company’s sales and brand?
  7. Divide students into teams. Have each team put together a crisis communication plan for a company. (Examples: food recalls, automotive recalls, etc.) Include press release, news outlets, and recall/replacement process.

Source: New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN, other news sources

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The Unhealthiest Restaurant Meals


Raise your hand if you have ever been on a diet. Now, raise your hand if you have ever been surprised to learn how many calories are in what you thought was a healthy meal!

The Center for Science in the Public Interest recently published its annual list of the most unhealthy restaurant meals with nine “winners” from appetizers, entrees, drinks, and desserts. Are you ready for this? Here are some of the top unhealthy meals:

• Whole Hog Burger (2,850 calories), Uno Pizzeria & Grill
• Jersey Mike’s Subs Giant Chipotle Cheese Steak (1,850 calories)
• Build Your Sampler (can reach 3,390 calories), Applebee’s
• Fried Chicken & Waffles Benedict (2,580 calories), The Cheesecake Factory
• Short Rib & Cheesy Mac Stack (1,910 calories), Dave & Buster’s
• Dessert Nachos (2,100 calories), Buffalo Wild Wings

There are lots of healthy options at many restaurants, but if you’re not careful, you could wind up eating one of these (and many more) unhealthy, calorie-laden, full of fat, meals.

Where do you want to go to eat tonight?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
1. Discuss eating habits. Poll students as to where they eat.
2. Show some of the unhealthiest meals:
3. Why is this an issue for the restaurant industry?
4. Next, show the Web site for the Center for Science in the Public Interest: https://cspinet.org/
5. Have students examine articles and information on the site. What surprised them?
6. Divide students into groups. Have each group select a restaurant chain and examine the restaurant’s menu for calories and other health issues. What are their findings?
7. What could restaurants do to address the issue of unhealthy meals? Does the restaurant industry have a social responsibility to consumers in regards to health?

Source: Chicago Tribune

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Texting and Driving – NO!


We hear it every day – don’t text while you drive. Yet, a billboard in Toronto, Ontario seemed to encourage people to text AND drive. What??

The message on the billboard reads “Text and Drive” with the name “Wathan Funeral Home” at the bottom of the sign. That’s rough – but it wasn’t real. The billboard was sponsored by an agency as an effort to discourage texting and driving. When viewers brought up the Wathan Funeral Home Web site, they were greeted with a message about getting Canadians to stop texting while driving.

Why the billboard? Simple, we tend to ignore the routine message, or think it applies to someone else. But the shock value of the sign, combined with the presumed advertiser of a funeral home, made drivers stop and think. According to site statistics, drivers who text are 23 more times likely to be involved in an accident.

Text and drive? Nope.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students about their habits texting and driving.
  2. Show the Web site: http://wathanfuneral.com/
  3. Make sure to click on the icons on the right-hand side for more information.
  4. Divide students into teams. Have each team create a Public Service Announcement (PSA) for an issue about which they are passionate.
  5. Have each team post its PSA on the board and discuss what makes an effective PSA.

Source: Canadian New Service

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