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Crisis management necessitates immediate attention to the issues or factors which have a huge potential to damage the credibility of the firm, leading to significant financial losses (Cornelissen, 2008). Consequently, contingency planning has become an intrinsic part of crisis management, which identifies and evaluates creative ways to mitigate risks from the crisis situation. Effective public relation exercise and communication have emerged as vital strategic tools, especially in crisis situations, that help to maintain market credibility and trust of various stakeholders of the firm (Heath & Coombs, 2006). The Tylenol murder case is a prime example of excellent public relation and effective communication during and after the crisis that had significantly contributed to retaining the firm’s credible image and trust of its stakeholders and shareholders. Background of the Crisis Issue In 1982, with more than one million over-the-counter sales and 37% of the market share, Tylenol capsule was the leading brand of painkiller in United States. It also accounted for 33% of Johnson & Johnson’s profit growth (Berge, 1998). On September 29, 1982, a twelve-year-old girl became the first victim of a cyanide-laced Tylenol capsule in Illinois. On the same day another adult died in hospital after taking a Tylenol capsule. Between September 29 and October 1, 1982, a total of seven people from across Chicago were reported dead after the consumption of extra strength Tylenol capsules, including three people of the same family. It was a major crisis situation that called for immediate response to avert any long-term repercussions on the credibility and performance of Johnson & Johnson, the manufacturer of the Tylenol capsules. Situational Analysis Johnson & Johnson was a major conglomerate in the healthcare field with a major presence in pharmaceuticals, consumer goods and medical devices and diagnostics. Over the years, it has earned huge credibility for its quality products, incredible customer service and innovation in the area of healthcare products through its state-of-the-art research and development. Of its various pharmaceutical products, Tylenol capsules had been top painkillers with a significant market share. But in 1982, the company faced a major crisis when its Tylenol capsules were used as a murder weapon that had killed seven people in Chicago (Bartz, 2012). The bottles containing the capsules were tampered and capsules were laced with cyanide. Between September 29 and October 1, 1982, seven people died after taking the capsules. Investigations revealed that the bottles had come from different factories, thus delineating the possibility of sabotage during the production process (Chicago Magazine, 2012). It was held that bottles were taken from the shelves of the stores and replaced after cyanide was added to the capsules. As there were no witnesses, it was assumed that the deed was done at another location and bottles with cyanide capsules were replaced on the counters. This was also vital information that came much later. The seven deaths with Tylenol as a key instrument of murder emerged as the key damaging issue which necessitated urgent response. Lerbinger (2012) asserted that recognition of crisis is a vital ingredient that promotes immediate remedial steps to avert potential damage to the credibility a ...Show more
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Research Paper on Public Relation Campaigns As Key Constituent of Contingency Plan in Crisis Situation A Study of Tylenol Murder Case Introduction The success of a firm is a major imperative that fundamentally pre-empts and promotes tools and creative mechanisms to address issues or factors which impact its performance and market credibility…
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