Communication crisis

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The articles

  1. Crisis Communication Strategies-Analysis Case Study: The Johnson & Johnson Tylenol Crisis
  2. "A case study from university of Oklahoma used by the U.S. department of defense"

    The article is quite extended it has a depth of information and a lot of details.

    The author has different articles and statements mixed up to a single article.

    The result is an article with good perspective and quality research but without titles or milestones so the one that's reads it can be easily lost.

  3. Companies in Crisis - What to do when it all goes wrong Johnson & Johnson and Tylenol
  4. "It's an article from Mallen Baker, a writer, commentator and strategic advisor on corporate social responsibility (CSR), and the chief executive of Business Respect."

    The author has been accurate in his reasoning the one reads the article can really fast understand the points that the author is analyzing but he hasn't enough depth in his research.

  5. Johnson & Johnson Tylenol Scare-How Johnson and Johnson dealt with this situation set a new precedent for crisis management.
  6. Effective Crisis Management-THE TYLENOL CRISIS, 1982
  7. "2 articles from anonymous journalists in the site of Florida Journalism and Communications Interactive Media Lab"

    The 2 last articles are similar they have good organization and they focus in specific

    Areas of the story "in the 3rd article focus more in the way of the company reacts in the crisis, the 4th more in the way that the company re-enters the market.

    Both don't have too much depth on research but they have a clear view of the story.

  9. "It's a criticism and milestones a May 28 Fortune magazine article."

    It has in depth analysis and in opposition with the other articles has points that giving a big share of responsibility to J&J.

  10. What Has Changed Since Tylenol?
  11. "It's an article written by Chris Gidez Senior Vice President & U.S. Director, Risk Management/Crisis Communications Hill & Knowlton New York"

    A more general article that analysis different angles of management of now and then.

  12. Crisis Management: Is a New Prescription Needed?
  13. "An article written by Millward Brown."

    An article that writes down the changes that Tylenol case have done in the company communication level.

  14. The J&J Tylenol Crisis: The Public Campaign of Misinformation
  15. "It's an article written by Fraudpi."

    An aggressive article about the Tylenol case investigation and the aspects between the police and the company.

    The full articles are in the last page of the paper*

Differences & Commonalities

The 1st one has a brainstorm of views and different clues on the story that is quite confusing but gives you different angles and side stories of the main story. It doesn't have many arguments it just writes down the facts.

The 2nd one it's a short, precise and very understandable article. The author doesn't write too much about the reactions of the company and it concludes like this: "By the end of the episode, everyone knew that Tylenol was associated with the scare. The company's market value fell by $1bn as a result." In general terms the text agrees with the argue that the company was the victim (along with the people that die from the poison).

The 3rd and 4th article are more organized than the 1st, but they also have many fragments of information like the first so u can't clearly see the opinion of the writer and they focus more on write down the facts than analyze them and offer their opinion. I believe the 4th has greater value then the 3rd one because tries to write down the facts step by step so the reader can follow more easily the story and also has more analytical view of the story and something like a conclusion in the end that's a plus.

The major differences are only in the structure of the articles, the content is similar on these articles praise the company's fast reactions and ethical decisions for ex. to remove the product from the market also they argue that this is something that could happen in any big company.

The 5th article has some interesting points in several sectors of the text posts statements of significant people that more or less saying that the story is a myth or a "fairytale".

"Crisis expert James Lukaszewski, addressing the PRSA Westchester/Fairfield chapter and the Fairfield PR Assn., March 7, 2001, said the Tylenol story, as commonly told, is a "fairy tale." (Falconi 2007)

"Lukaszewski says that when he is teaching a PR course students usually think that J&J pulled the drug between 24 and 72 hours. The "astounding part" of a Harvard University videotape on Burke and Tylenol, said Lukeszewski, is that Burke learned of the tragedy in Chicago on Wednesday, Sept. 30, and called a staff meeting for Monday." (Falconi 2007)

In this point is trying to prove that the J&J had not act as fast, efficient and ethical as the most of the people believe.

Another important point is the view of some critics saying that "the problem was not with the Tylenol analgesic or the packaging but with the capsule itself which could easily be taken apart and spiked." (Falconi 2007)

"Some pharmacists would not stock any such capsules, believing they were unsafe.

The soft gel capsules were popular because consumers thought they dissolved quicker in the stomach. However, medical experts said tablets dissolve just as fast. J&J, say critics, instead of acknowledging that the real problem was the capsules, reintroduced the product supposedly guarded by "tamper-resistant" packaging." (Falconi 2007)

This thesis is about an aspect that the J&J know about but the company act careless and not as responsible as should be.

At the last paragraph the author mentioning the victims' names and the major characteristics of each one of them like marriage status how many children they have or the way they die and of course age.

Says that the reason that announces them is that no one has ever mentioned the names before in similar articles about the story. I believe that the true reason is that he wants to emotionally manipulate the people that will read his article so can more easily contribute to his opinion.

The 6th article is an interview that points the most significant points from a crisis like Tylenols it has more general information's and compares the management of now and then.

It first refers about speed of reaction in a crisis situation one of the biggest factors to manage a crisis with the lower as possible damages.

"The time between the flashpoint of a crisis and the impact of measurable damage has been greatly compressed. Managers have far less time to process information, consider options, make decisions and execute plans." (Gidez 2007)

It also has an interesting conclusion in a question about the management in the 1982 and now. "Class-action lawsuits...if not flourish."

The managers now have more tools to communicate faster and more efficient but they also have bigger and more intense amount of information and rumors to deal with.

"The company that continues to focus on the right things - possessing a bias for action, regaining control of the agenda, emphasizing substance over spin, winning back trust and, like J&J, living up to its values - will survive, if not flourish" (Gidez 2007)

At the end supports the model and the values J&J has believed in and was saved.

The 7th article is quite interesting, first praise principles of J&J like to make public health and safety their overriding priority and quick acting after the incident and then contrasting the topic with another company crisis of Snow Brand in Japan in 2000,

" when nearly 15,000 people suffered food poisoning after consuming dairy products made by the company. Rather than facing up to the problem, which was traced to bacteria on the production line in one factory, Snow Brand initially downplayed the incident and limited the extent of its product recall. When the company eventually had to admit that it had underestimated the scale of the contamination, it faced negative publicity and threats of criminal charges that led to the temporary closure of 2 1 production plants." (Brown 2007)

Then a comment that's something I don't totally agree,

"The Japanese tradition of relying on non-confrontational face-saving responses surely contributed to the reticence of Snow Brand in the face of their contamination crisis. Johnson & Johnson, on the other hand, operated in an environment with well-developed public relations channels, and management made the decision to use those channels to share their story." (Brown 2007)

I believe the values, the depth of the organization and the policy of the company is the difference in the 2 examples not only the culture and the tradition.

At the end concludes and notes that, "It is noteworthy that neither Johnson & Johnson nor Odwalla had a crisis plan. Instead, executives from both companies looked to their mission statements to guide their actions. As Odwalla's CEO Stephen Williamsons explained, "We had no crisis management procedure in place, so I followed our vision statement and our core values of honesty, integrity, and sustainability. Our number-one concern was for the safety and well-being of people who drink our juices." (Brown 2007)

As a prove that not the plan but the revolutionary system of the company was the one that save her and keep her on the market.

The last 8th article is has more to do with investigation analysis and less with the management deals.

The author is presenting clues and comments by several people that they have to do with the case.

The most of them are point a misleading evidence policy from the company to the customers and police.

I can say from author's comments that he is convinced the J&J was not so innocent in the story and no so ethical in the decisions that have taken after the incident.

"Today's post is another in my series regarding J&J's disastrous handling of the 1982 and 1986 Tylenol murders. I'll delve into what appears to have been a coordinated campaign by J&J and the FDA to allay consumer fears about the safety of our drug supply, rather than conduct a proper investigation and eliminate the dangers within the distribution system that allowed the tampering to occur."(Fraudpi 2008)

Moreover says that was a "coordinate campaign" of J&J and FDA to manipulate customers fear about safety of the Tylenol and to cover how the tampering occurred.

If all these are true I believe that a apology is the best think the company must do.

Speaking of "a simple apology," but there is no such thing. To acknowledge a transgression, seek forgiveness, and make things right is a complex act. Apologies sometimes are prompted by fear and guilt and by the calculation of personal or professional gain. They are shaped by culture, context, and gender. They are base and self-serving or generous and high-minded. And when extended in public, they amount to performances to which different audiences react in different ways.

In corporate America, the good apology extended by Johnson & Johnson during the Tylenol crisis has taken on almost mythic proportions. Although the case is about a quarter-century old, it is still considered a near-perfect example of what a leader should do when things go wrong and that's my opinion.


The most significant fact about this story is that the company managed to get rid the title "Johnson & Johnson is the company that's responsible to the Tylenol poisoning."

The lightening fast reactions and the excellent management and communication that the company has shown to get rid of the blame and as a result she regains the peoples trust and his market place it's a huge example and lesson for the other big companies that "they must be ready to react and to have always priority the customer."

Although the crisis was brought on by an individual (who was never caught) rather than an institution (Johnson & Johnson), and subsequent evidence indicated that the killer had no relationship whatsoever to the company, James Burke, Johnson & Johnson's CEO at the time, immediately assumed responsibility for the disaster. People were told not to consume Tylenol products. Production and advertising were halted. And Tylenol capsules already in stores were recalled (at an estimated cost of some $100 million), while company executives worked tirelessly to resolve the crisis.

The case brings to light the need for a well-thought out strategy in crisis situations. Today, J&J and Tylenol has regained its place in the marketplace as the main analgesic seller in U.S. and is considered one of the most trusted products in America.

At the end I believe the most valuable element a company must always protects is the public trust because it's something very difficult to archive and the same time something extreme fragile.


  • Crisis Communication Strategies Analysis Case Study: The Johnson & Johnson Tylenol Crisis
  • Companies in Crisis - What to do when it all goes wrong Johnson & Johnson and Tylenol
  • Johnson & Johnson Tylenol Scare How Johnson and Johnson dealt with this situation set a new precedent for crisis management.
  • Effective Crisis Management The Tylenol crisis, 1982
  • Falconi,M (2007,May 23). Tylenol case a misleading myth - Fortune Lauds Tylenol PR. Retrieved December 14,2009 from PR Conversations website:
  • Gidez,C ( 2007 February 22).What Has Changed Since Tylenol?. Retrieved December 14,2009 from Hilland Knowlton website:
  • Brown,M (2007, March). Crisis Management: Is a New Prescription Needed?. Retrieved December 14,2009 from WPP website:
  • Fraudpi. (2008, April 8).The J&J Tylenol Crisis: The Public Campaign of Misinformation. Retrieved December 14,2009 from zimbio website: