The Fast Food industry gave us a couple of crisis PR examples this past week! I think the lesson learned for companies is not every type of crisis PR is going to deserve the same response.
The first one was Chick-fil-A. The company sent out an email promoting National Sandwich Day that occurred on Nov. 3 — a Sunday. The issue is Chick-fil-A is famously not open on Sundays. So, in fact, the company wanted people to celebrate the National Sandwich Day on a day on which they can’t buy a Chick-fil-A product. Popeyes took advantage of that on social media with a chicken sandwich they’re promoting. If you’re Chick-fil-A, you just got to laugh it off, credit this as being a faux pas and move on. Let everybody have a good laugh.
McDonald’s, on the other hand, got themselves in bigger hot water for promoting their sundae product with a red, strawberry sauce around Halloween by calling it “Sundae Bloody Sunday” with special offers available on Oct. 27. Anybody who knows world history knows that Bloody Sunday refers to a January 1972 massacre by British troops against unarmed Northern Ireland civilians. It was chronicled very well in a famous U2 music video. McDonald’s is going to have to do some serious damage control, and this isn’t something they can laugh off very easily.
Be forewarned, not every crisis is going to be responded to in the same. And in fact, you’ve got to do it quickly.