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Product Recall at Fisher Price: A Perfect PR Opportunity

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There’s nothing worse for a consumer than hearing about a product recall. Many things go through your mind all at once, but primarily its: “Does this recall affect me?” If a consumer discovers that they are affected, it should be the company’s priority to provide information that is easily accessible and widely publicized on next steps consumers can and should take. The way a company handles a recall (mandatory or voluntary) on their products demonstrates the competency of their PR team, along with shaping the perception the market has on the company. If handled properly, a company can come out of a product recall unscathed, or perhaps with an even better public image.


Product Recall More Than Just a Migraine

Consider the Tylenol recall of 1982; the birth of the recall, that actually saved the brand from extinction in the end. Before Tylenol, product recalls were unheard of – but when reports began to surface that 7 people had died in Chicago after consuming cyanide-laced capsules of extra-strength Tylenol, the company could not remain silent. Instead the brand put consumers first, pulling all Tylenol from the market and offering replacement product in the form of the safer, tablet variety of Tylenol. It took 2 months for Tylenol to return to store shelves, complete with the now standard, tamper-proof packaging along with a killer media campaign.


This move was costly, carrying a price tag of $100 million for Johnson & Johnson (Tylenol’s parent company).

Consider the following statistics:

  • Before the incident Tylenol held a 37% market share which fell to 7% after the recall – only to climb back up to 30% a year later
  • Just before the recall, Tylenol stock was trading at a 52 week high, after a minor period of see-sawing it returned to these highs 2 months later.


Now let’s consider Fisher Price, arguably one of the most recognizable names when it comes to toys & toddler products such as sleepers and high chairs. It was reported today that the company is voluntarily recalling a seemingly long list of products for a variety of reasons. The General Manager of Fisher Price, Kevin Curran, has also released a statement on behalf of the company reassuring consumers & issuing an apology.


The language used in the statement shows that like Tylenol, Fisher Price’s main focus is consumers above all else. Their statement leads with the clever “Because we’re parents too,” which succeeds at establishing common interest with concerned consumers.

“Many of us here at Fisher-Price are parents, too — myself included — and we share your belief that nothing is more important than the well-being of our children.”

- Kevin Curran, Fisher-Price General Manager

A direct link is provided to the specific details about the recall.


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