These victims have died within hours after taking Tylenol due to the cyanide content of the capsules, which was stronger by 10,000 times to the cyanide dose the human body can take (Kaplan, 2005). Johnson & Johnson acted promptly. At that time, nobody thought of such tragedy. These murders became the first of its kind. It was revealed in the investigations, that the capsules were tainted by cyanide through the act of an intent person because no specific evidence can link that the Tylenol capsules were laced by cyanide during manufacture (Kaplan, 2005).
At the turn of events, Johnson & Johnson decided to put out a major recall for all the Tylenol capsules in the country. The manner in which Johnson & Johnson handled the controversy is regarded by professionals “to be one of the best in the history of public relations” (Kaplan, 2005). In Griese’s book (2001), she cited the Tylenol tragedy as a befitting example on making the right decisions during time of crisis. Griese enumerated eight steps as guidelines in decision-making. The first step after the identification of the situation is to conduct research.
The company McNeil Consumer Healthcare under Johnson & Johnson, which is responsible for manufacture of Tylenol, performed unending research throughout and even after the crisis. Next step is the determination of campaign objectives. Griese (2001) cited the company’s interest in putting the public first through provision of facts to the public. Following the steps are the identification of key publics, key media, and key messages. Griese (2001) pertained to these keys as the act of tapping of “mass media” for information dissemination, then to the significant sectors such as the health teams, “…Food and Drug Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation and consumers”.
The sixth step is to plan the campaign wherein, Griese (2001) mentioned that a critical team, composed of seven persons, was established by then Johnson & Johnson’s chairman James E. Burke. It was followed by acting in the public interest and communicating. Johnson & Johnson set up toll free hotlines, paid advertising, and offered Tylenol tablets as exchange to the capsules.
One and a half month following the crisis, Johnson & Johnson came up with the new Tylenol, taking pride and confidence on its “tamper-proof” packaging (Griese, 2001). Last step on the process as framework for decision making is evaluating the campaign results. The company’s efforts can be concluded as successful due to the fact that three months after the victims’ deaths, Tylenol tablets “recaptured” 80% of its previous market (Griese, 2001).
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