A Rapid Response Leads to Today’s Rapid Release

For effective pain relief, trust Tylenol.  Has Tylenol always been trusted? In the fall of 1982, a nationwide panic erupted in the United States when authorities revealed that seven people died from cyanide-laced Tylenol Extra-strength capsules.


In response, Johnson and Johnson launched a public relations campaign that is arguably the best corporate crisis management in history. By responding, redesigning, and restoring, Johnson and Johnson saved its most profitable product and the corporation.



By putting the consumer’s concerns before their own financial worries, Johnson and Johnson acted quickly. Within 24 hours, the company provided a toll-free number that was managed by company employees to address consumer concerns.  They stopped all promotional advertising and worked closely with the media to launch awareness campaigns that were forthcoming of new information.  Most significantly, they assumed responsibility and did a complete recall of all Tylenol products from the market. This consisted of over 31 million bottles taken off store shelves, and exchanging already purchased Tylenol capsules for Tylenol tablets. This amounted to a loss of 100 million dollars.



Working closely with the Food and Drug Administration on new tampering regulations as an effect of the crisis, Tylenol was re-introduced to the market three months later with the first triple-seal tamper-proof packaging design.



Following the tampering scare, Johnson and Johnson needed to restore the faith in their consumers. They implemented a three-stage process.


  1. Mass distribution of a $2.50 coupon for all Tylenol products following the redesign of the tamper-proof package.
  2. A new pricing program came into effect three months after the September crisis. This allowed consumers to receive up to 25 per cent in Tylenol product discounts.
  3. Over 250 associates were asked to promote the reintroduction of Tylenol to the medical community.


The company’s mission statement was the driving force in the fast-acting and classic crisis management scenario. By putting the consumer first and corporate concerns second, Tylenol has recovered from this crisis and is ‘getting you back to normal’.


–Erin Jones

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to A Rapid Response Leads to Today’s Rapid Release

  1. Tess says:

    This really does go to show the best dealt with corporate crisis management in history. Although this was such a terrifying experience for many in 1982, Tylenol seemed to of handled the situation well. This story just goes to prove the great importance of the public relations field, and how much work is done behind the scene to ensure nothing like the Tylenol panic happens again.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s