When an icon stumbles: The Ribena issue mismanaged

Jaques, A 2008, 'When an icon stumbles: The Ribena issue mismanaged', Corporate Communications, vol. 13, no. 4, pp. 394-406.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title When an icon stumbles: The Ribena issue mismanaged
Author(s) Jaques, A
Year 2008
Journal name Corporate Communications
Volume number 13
Issue number 4
Start page 394
End page 406
Total pages 13
Publisher Emerald Group Publishing
Abstract Purpose - When two 14-year-old New Zealand schoolgirls challenged the advertising claims of Ribena blackcurrant drink - owned by global giant GlaxoSmithKline - they triggered a sequence of events which led to prosecution, public opprobrium and international damage to an iconic brand. The purpose of this paper is to explore the case and identify lessons for future management practice. Design/methodology/approach - Some of the fundamental principles of issue management, post-crisis discourse and corporate apologia are to recognize the problem early, to promptly institute a strategic response plan and corrective action and, if necessary, to apologise genuinely and without delay. The paper assesses the case against the theoretical basis of each of these principles and comparable cases. A senior executive of the company concerned was interviewed about some management aspects. Findings - Despite early indications of a problem which had potential impact around the world, a major global corporation responded inadequately to a local situation and, as a result, suffered prolonged embarrassment at the hands of two teenagers and unnecessarily severe damage to its brand and international reputation. Originality/value - By in-depth analysis of a recent case, the paper underlines valuable lessons in terms of prompt management intervention, consistent strategy and effective apologia. It also illustrates the danger of poor management of a brand extension and the risk of contagion facing multinational organizations where adverse outcomes in one small regional market can rapidly damage a global reputation.
Subject Marketing not elsewhere classified
Keyword(s) brand image
corporate image
corporate strategy
complaints
advertising
Ribena
GlaxoSmithKline
DOI - identifier 10.1108/13563280810914829
ISSN 1356-3289
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