07 November 2007

Moose Toys' poor response, poor attitude

In my previous post about Moose Toys’ lame response to deadly toxic beads being swallowed by children, the media writer for The Australian, Amanda Meade, kindly pointed out the company issued a release.

For sure it did, then “hid” it in the “kids” section of its web site, which probably explains why it wasn’t picked up by the media until 24 hours-plus after the hospitalisation of three children. I went to the kids section (http://www.mooseworld.com.au/content/kids2/Home.aspx) and I still couldn’t find it. You’d think it would be under the corporate section, at least.

Apart from hiding the release, some of the language isn’t too encouraging.

Quote: “made this decision in the best interests of the brand and the children who love playing with it”.

I didn’t know you could play with a brand. But “in the best interests of the brand”. They really have their priorities wrong. This type of stuff is amazing in this day and age of supposed corporate responsibility.

In the second paragraph they’re also indirectly blaming children for playing with it incorrectly. Cripes, it’s what kids do … put things in their mouths. But to shift blame on to children (customers).

Then it goes on to say Moose voluntarily recalled the product. So if no one found out and didn’t make them recall it, then they wouldn’t have.

I see the statement is issued by a marketing person, which is why you need communicators to handle things like this.

This company has seriously abrogated its responsibility. It’s reputation is tarnished.

I’ll be teaching this as a case study in how not to do PR for a long time.

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The PR Lab is a consultancy, specialising on research, reputation management, social media, media relations and the development of measurable strategies that produce results. It is run by Dr Greg Smith, a former journalist and PR professional. Greg worked on daily newspapers in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. He held senior PR positions in the Australian Defence Force, Sydney Olympics and national not-for-profits. He has also lectured in PR at Edith Cowan University and the University of Notre Dame Australia.