The 4 Best Crisis Communication Examples of All Time, According to Digital Silk

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Johnson & Johnson's effective crisis response managed to save Tylenol from a certain peril in 1982, becoming a textbook example of the power of crisis communication. Digital Silk outlined the best crisis communication examples to educate brands on how to respond in the face of a challenge.

Maintaining proper client and public communication during a crisis can be a daunting task.

Digital Silk, a global digital agency, shares the best crisis communication examples to show brands how to face challenges in an authentic way that mitigates the negative impact.

The best crisis communication examples are:

1. Johnson & Johnson

The crisis: Seven people who had taken the company’s market-leading, over-the-counter painkiller, Tylenol, died from poisoning due to bottle tampering.

The communication: Johnson & Johnson immediately ran advertisements to alert consumers not to take their product. They stopped the production and ordered a national withdrawal. After six weeks, they designed the first, triple-lock tamper-resistant container.

The lesson: Through the immediate and transparent response to the crisis, Tylenol regained its market share. They focused on their customers instead of profit in the short-term, which brought them long-term success.

2. Pepsi

The crisis: In 1993, a Washington couple claimed that they found a syringe in a bottle of diet Pepsi.

The communication: In response to the allegation, the brand created video campaigns to demonstrate the canning process. The video went to prove that such a mistake was simply impossible.

The lesson: Although the problem was outside of Pepsi’s control, the company managed to stay transparent. By allowing its consumers to see what’s ‘behind the curtain’ and showcase its safe production, the brand dispelled the allegations and regained trust.

3. KFC

The crisis: In February, 2018, most of KFC’s Ireland and UK outlets ran out of their staple offering - chicken.

The solution: The brand placed an unconventional ad spread in “The Sun” and “Metro” where they playfully and suggestively rearranged the brand name letters into FCK. They also allowed their clients to track the delivery status of chicken in their local KFC outlets.

The lesson: KFC’s provided a quick, witty and on-brand response to the situation, turning a local reputation crisis into a globally viral campaign.

4. American Red Cross

The crisis: An American Red Cross employee accidentally posted an inappropriate personal tweet on the organization’s account.

It said:

“Ryan found two more 4 bottle packs of Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch beer…. when we drink we do it right #gettngslizzerd.”

The solution: Instead of ignoring the tweet, the organization took a humorous approach. It posted another tweet saying:

“We've deleted the rogue tweet but rest assured the Red Cross is sober and we've confiscated the keys.”

The lesson: By addressing the issues in an authentic, human way, the American Red Cross not only managed to cope with the embarrassing situation but it successfully generated even more donations as well.

Establishing thoughtful communication during a crisis helps businesses build trust, maintain credibility and sometimes grow brand awareness.

About Digital Silk:
Digital Silk is a creative digital agency focused on growing brands online. From custom websites to digital marketing, Digital Silk creates SUPERIOR digital experiences to drive higher conversions, greater brand engagement & measurable results.

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Maja Dukadinovska
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