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Not Such a Happy Meal

Friday, June 11, 2010 by Slaughter Development

McDonald’s made headlines recently when a substance linked to cancer was discovered in their promotional toys. Yet, despite the immediate recall a week ago, commercials promoting the product are still airing on major networks.

Last Friday, the fast food chain announced a major recall on 12 million Shrek Forever glasses being sold at their restaurants. Turns out, cadmium, a carcinogen that can lead to bone softening and kidney damage, was discovered in the paint. Therefore, in an effort to keep customers safe, the fast-food giant immediately responded by pulling the promotional item.

It’s not rocket science: when a product is recalled, sale is no longer an option. Yet, six days after pulling the Shrek glass, a commercial aired on NBC promoting the item. So, was this a scheduling mistake made by the network or did McDonald’s approve showing the ad despite the recent problems?

According to Tom Forte, analyst for Tesley Advisory Group, “the challenge for McDonald’s will not be the lost revenue from the promotion, but the perception concerns regarding the recall.” If this is the case, the restaurant empire may have an even bigger problem. After all, the surprise airing does nothing more than reopen doors of caution to consumers and rekindle negative bouts of attention: two sure-fire reasons why McDonald’s issued the recall in the first place.

Only time will tell if this airing mistake will have lasting effects on McDonald’s, but one thing is sure: when failure occurs, reacting to it promptly is a great start, but its not the only solution. Acknowledgement of a problem should be accompanied by a lucid plan of action that is not only detailed and accurate, but communicated sufficiently. Otherwise, something vital—like discontinuing an advertisement—may get missed.

Failure isn’t always bad. In fact, Slaughter Development sees it as a beneficial stepping stone in the journey toward success. If you are interested in learning more about utilizing failure as an advantage, consider picking up a copy of  Failure: The Secret To Success. Written by Slaughter Development’s founder, this book reflects on the role of getting it wrong in finding ways to get it right.

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Like this post? Here are some related entries from The Methodology Blog you might enjoy:

Understanding Mystery Clients - A Brazilian man was recently rewarded $17,500 after a judge ruled his weight gain resulted from managing a McDonald’s franchise. And though his clothes were snug, his argument was far from tight. Read on »
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3 Responses to “Not Such a Happy Meal”

  1. Amie Peele Carter Says:

    Great tips here - we all fail, individually and as teams. This post hits the nail on the head regarding the best kind of recovery. Fall down, get up, dust yourself off. But if someone needs to know about the correction you’ve made, be sure they will.

  2. Robby Slaughter Says:

    Thanks for the comment, Amie!

  3. Brice Neher Says:

    Check us out!

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