Better Safe and Sorry

Friday, February 12, 2010


In recent weeks Toyota has struggled with the mechanics and the mea culpas of a successful product recall. What’s a global company to do when faced with a high profile consumer crisis-of-confidence? Veteran PR crisis manager Gene Grabowski says look no further then the ur-successful recall – Tylenol in 1982. And Japanese international relations expert Roland Kelts explains why for Toyota it’s so hard to say ‘I’m sorry.’

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Comments [7]

Douglas Ward

Typical East Coast bias. If it didn't happen in New Haven, it didn't happen

Feb. 27 2010 03:19 PM
Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

Oh, and while I'm thinking of it, the title of this segment was cute. I was thinking, "Unsafe at any speed," but that's long been taken.

Plus, has anyone noticed that local weather reports have really merged into traffic reports? It's as if the only real consequence, now, of weather is to our cars.

Feb. 18 2010 10:20 AM
Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

If Odwalla was truly effective in its campaign, I would submit that it would have become a household name. Tylenol seems to have become more famous from its campaign. Ford and its Explorer certainly remain famous. Firestone calls itself Breakstone, now, right?

Mr. Hill hit the nail on the head. It would seem, however, to be other laws under which he could be prosecuted and it really is about time for this nation to be prosecuting crimes. On last night's Newshour, Bill Black, a former bank regulator, pointed out that not even a single indictment for mortgage fraud, no less a conviction, has resulted from the housing bubble, international financial disaster scenario inducing collapse!

Feb. 18 2010 07:26 AM
Jason Hill from Portland Oregon

I understand the point of this story is related to Toyota and the effectiveness of protecting their brand and corporate reputation as well as protecting market share and their stock value. I'm rather tired of the pandering to corporations and the fixation on profits. I could care less about Toyota and their reputation, or how much money they will lose because of this "anomoly". What I care about, and what isn't mentioned once or even hinted at are the families and lives that were destroyed by these faulty vehicles. Let's focus on the real tradgedy, a human family on a Sunday drive killed because the accelerator pedal in their "safe, quality" Toyota get's stuck. What horror they must have gone through in those final moments. With that said, maybe Toyota could help their image by donating scholarship money to the victims or atleast pay for their funerals? That would go a long way in my book because as we all know, the CEO won't be held accountable for involuntary manslaughter (although the definition applies).

Feb. 16 2010 03:22 PM
Ron Simpson from Troy, Michigan

In a show about the media, it is important for the media to keep its memory hat on when it makes statements like that at the end of the Toyota segment. What Toyota is doing isn't terribly unusual and certainly it took them too long to act. If you remember the Firestone tire recall on the Ford Explorer, Ford wouldn't take Firestone's word that everything was OK and did their own data analysis. Ford had to prove the problem with the tires. Ford was up front and open about it, quickly recalled every affected vehicle and replaced every tire at a huge cost. How soon we forget.
Let's think about this next time.

Feb. 14 2010 09:25 PM
Matthew Phelan from Brooklyn, NY

This podcast, as downloaded from iTunes, cuts off mid-sentence during the schizophrenia conversation (around 50min 37sec) to give the usual donation information and then abruptly ends entirely. PLZ HALP! Fix!

Feb. 14 2010 07:01 PM
Douglas Ward

You say that no US company has matched the response to the Tylenol recall. I disagree. Odwalla reacted to the E Coli contamination of their apple-based juices in 1996 very effectively. There was a quick recall, a thorough apology and they set up a special web site and call center for the recall. They then changed some of their formulations and processes and returned to profitability by late 1997 (although they had a net loss for the year).

Feb. 14 2010 05:43 PM

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