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Taco Hell

It’s been widely reported but it’s still worth noting as one of the first significant crisit born of mobile video meeting mass distribution channels. As AdAge says, “Your brand disasters will now be broadcast. Widely and instantly.”


And there is nothing worse than a image-based crisis. Words are soft and squishy things that sow seeds ouf doubt. Images reaffirm doubt absolutely. “The video of a dozen rats scampering around a New York KFC/Taco Bell restaurant was clearly bad news for the reputation of the Yum Brands businesses, which were already reeling from an E. coli episode last year that some believe has contributed to a Taco Bell sales slump.”

AdAge goes on to say: “No crisis is just a local crisis. The rats running amok at the Greenwich Village eatery were first reported on early-morning TV news by a New York station, WNBC-TV, following a consumer call to its tip line. But by the time Yum Brands put out a statement addressing the issue on its home page and media wires — 2:06 p.m. EST — the stomach-churning video had already raced over the internet and made it to numerous other TV stations.”

But the web isn’t just the perfect distribution medium – it’s also the perfect archive. This will live on forever, creating a permanent link between the brand and hygine. If your crisis plan doesn’t now include search-engine optimization, it should. At the time of crisis you would expect to proactively buy search terms to push positive messages on how you are fixing the problem. As AdAge rightly points out “So at some points on Feb. 23, a Google search for “rats” and “KFC” resulted in sponsored links for KFC, followed by a host of exterminator links. “There was no evidence of any advertising against negative search terms on Google,” said Mr. Blackshaw. “This is a missed opportunity because the organic search results generally reinforced negative perceptions about food hygiene.” This is a classic miss.

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