Effective Communication Case Study Analysis:The Tylenol Crisis

Essay by bakerboobooUniversity, Bachelor's April 2008

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Effective Communication Case Study Analysis: TylenolIn 1982 Johnson and Johnson was hit with a crisis of major proportions when seven people in the Chicago area had died within hours of ingesting Extra-Strength Tylenol . Through further investigation it was found that those pill capsules had been laced with cyanide. At first no one had a clue of the connection between the Extra-Strength Tylenol and the deaths of the seven victims. However, once the connection was made, immediate action took place on the part of Johnson and Johnson. Tylenol's CEO James Burke, inspired by his company's credo, determined that the safety of the public was his number one concern over the future of the company and its profits. Tylenol and Burke turned to the media to help alert and inform the public, initiated a nation wide recall of Tylenol capsules, and temporarily halted its production (Houge, 2001). Because of the immediate response and genuine concern of the public Johnson and Johnson set a precedent for crisis management.

This paper will evaluate the effectiveness of the communication between Johnson and Johnson and its intended public. In addition several concepts will be identified such as the different publics involved in the case study and the different PR communication tools that were utilized. Lastly a brief discussion on the impact of new technologies will be given in regard to the case study.

Internal and External PublicsExternally there were several publics involved in the crisis. News media locally in the Chicago area and nationally, nation wide retailers, consumers, local police, and the Food and Drug Administration were the main externals involved. There was a heavy attention paid to the external publics by Johnson and Johnson, but the main focus was geared towards the consumers. There was a nationwide panic over the situation, but Johnson...