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Exxon Case Study

3532 words - 15 pages

Exxon Valdez and Tylenol Case Study


Communication Arts Department

Lawrence G. Rawl, chairman and chief executive of the Exxon Corpoation was in his kitchen sipping coffee when the phone rang and received the news regarding the spilling of crude oil into the frigid waters of Prince William Sound, just outside the harbor of Valdez, Alaska. What was about to happen was the worst environmental disaster in the history of the United States.

These were the documented facts that media had portrayed across the United States and to the world: Exxon Valdez, a 978-foot tanker piloted by a captain whom later revealed to be drank, ran aground on a ...view middle of the document...

Mr. Rawl took a full week to make any public comment on the spill. However when he did, he decided to blame others, for example, he blamed the U.S Coast Guard and Alaskan Officials. His impression persisted that in the light of the delay in admitting responsibility, Exxon was not responding vigorously enough. Exxon Corporation did a numerous strategy on how they will profile their company as an image of responsible company. However, they failed again. They made video releases to show how the company is cleaning the spill. It was the worst move of Exxon Corporation, because of the fact that the spill resulted in the death of more than 15,000 sea birds and numerous otters and eagles. The last dilemma is how they deal with the aftermath of the crisis. The company again submerged into controversy when Exxon USA sent a $30,000 contribution to the Alaska Radio Network, which covered the crisis on a daily basis. Unfortunately, the network, sniff a “conflict of interest”, flatly turned down Exxon’s attempt to favor on their behalf. It’s been obvious that this case illustrates that P.R credibility starts w/ management’s integrity and socially responsible actions.

To compare with Johnson’s Tylenol crisis, the public relations decision related to the Tylenol crisis and the product’s strong comeback came in two phases ( Cutlip, Scot, Broom 200). According to the book, Effective Public Relation, phase one is also known as “crisis phase”. It began when the news spread about the cyanide poisoning that first occurred in Chicago. At that time, the extent of the contamination was not immediately known; there was grave concern for the safety of the estimated 100 million Americans who were using Tylenol. First thing they did was to fully cooperate with the news media; comparing it to Rawls action CEO James E. Burke did it without hesitation. The media was key to warning the public of the danger that may occur. For the same reason the decision was made to recall two batches of the product and later to withdraw it nationally.

During the crisis phase of the Tylenol tragedy, every public relation decision was based on sound, socially responsible business principle, which is when public relations are most effective. Immediately, planning began for phase two, the comeback, and this involved a more detailed and extensive public relations effort that closely followed important marketing decisions and reached out so many audiences. The comeback began officially with a 30-city video conference via satellite, an innovative approach, a public relations agency responsible for Tylenol product publicity.

The Tylenol tragedy proved that public relations isa business of basis and that the best public relations decisions are closely linked to sound business practice and a responsible corporate philosophy. President Reagan also remark the works of Mr. Burks, he quoted; “Jim Burks of Johnsons and Johnsons, you have our deepest appreciation for livin up to the highes ideals...

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