This Is Us, Crock-Pot, and Public Relations

In a January 29th article published on Inc.com (found here), we learn about the unlikely bedfellows of the NBC show This Is US, Crock-Pot, and Public Relations. Spoilers ahead for fans of the show that are not caught up. Long story short, the death of the show’s dad seems to have been caused by a house fire started by a faulty Crock-Pot. Fans of the show took to Twitter to express this discontent with both his death and with Crock-Pot, causing Crock-Pot to respond immediately.

The article’s author, Amy George, claims that Crock-Pot’s response is an example of smart public relations and I’d have to agree with her. George explains that speed is a necessity in a PR crisis and Crock-Pot respond very quickly on their Facebook and even created a Twitter for responses (@CrockPotCares). George states that in a PR crisis you have to respond with empathy, which Crock-Pot did by not only continuing to respond via Twitter to upset fans but also creating #CrockPotISInnocent. Another key to a PR crisis is to respond with facts according to George and that’s exactly what Crock-Pot did. Crock-Pots statement to the media stated:

For nearly 50 years, with over 100 million Crock-Pots sold, we have never received any consumer complaints similar to the fictional events portrayed in last night’s episode. In fact, the safety and design of our product renders this type of event nearly impossible.

In addition, and most relevant to the concerns consumers are having after watching the recent This Is Us episode, our Crock-Pot slow cookers are low current, low wattage (typically no more than 200 or 300 watts) appliances with self-regulating, heating elements.

Not only did Crock-Pot respond with facts to soothe those expressing concern over their Crock-Pot devices but also threw in a subtle reminder that the events depicted in the show are not real when they said “fictional events portrayed in last night’s episode.”

George finishes the article by stating that every company needs a crisis PR plan. I agree with her and it is evident that Crock-Pot had just that with their timely and effective response to those expressing their unhappiness.

In an article on the Washington Post (found here), Crock-Pot says that This Is Us has a responsibility to inform viewers of product safety. On this note, I do not agree with Crock-Pot. Every time there is an electrical fire in a show, the show does not release a statement regarding the safety of wiring in houses. The same can be said for anything that causes harm or death in shows. People are hurt or killed all the time by cars in shows but you don’t see those shows releasing statements about vehicle safety or putting a message on screen before or after the show airs regarding vehicle safety. Besides seemingly ridiculous statement from Crock-Pot, they have handled the unexpected PR crisis timely and very effectively.

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