Will Capri Sun recover from the negative press it is receiving about the mysterious growth found in an individual juice pouch purchased from BJ’S Wholesale Club in Homestead, Florida? That remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure, the lack of a social media plan has damaged Capri Sun.
It started on Memorial Day when Melissa Wiegand Brown posted this picture of a globule of gunk extracted from her son’s Capri Sun pouch on her Facebook page. Within hours, the FDA in Orlando was contacted, the picture went viral and the wild speculation began. The gunk was sent to a lab for testing and it appears the first time Kraft Foods, Capri Sun parent company, got involved was asking for the results from the lab.
After a week of non-response, Kraft issued the following statement, “We recently received word from a consumer about an issue with a Capri Sun pouch. We understand that some of you are concerned. Now that we’ve tested the material, we’ve confirmed it was mold. While unpleasant, it is not a safety issue.”
Finally, Capri Sun has released a well done FAQ on the Kraft Facebook page to address consumer concerns. However, the Capri Sun’s lack of activity has not prevented the story from going mainstream, it appears in today’s Chicago Tribune.
There are four key elements to a social media crisis plan, let’s evaluate where Capri Sun fell short in this crisis for each of these elements.
1. Build your network before you need your network.
You can’t start social media crisis communications in the middle of a crisis. Capri Sun’s lack of social media planning meant they were seeking people to join their social network instead of communicating with an already established network.
2. Communicate quickly; acknowledge awareness and accept responsibility.
Capri Sun simply let too much time go by before communicating with the public on the story. Speculation from human body parts, to animals, to questioning the production locations for Capri Sun were mentioned without response from Capri Sun. Acknowledging the concern as soon as possible, even just to day ‘We are investigating’ would have been a better approach.
3. Communicate often; provide regular updates to stem the tide of rampant speculation.
Capri Sun allowed too much information to go unchallenged. When the hysterical comments are flowing, someone needs to answer them. It gives the appearance that Capri Sun does not take food safety seriously.
4. Authenticity matters when speaking to customers, prospects, interested parties and the general public.
Even though they missed the timing, the latest communication from Vinay Sharma, director of Capri Sun Beverages expresses authenticity. “We appreciate that our Facebook community is so engaged and willing to share their point of view. Whenever you have questions about one of our products, it’s important that you’re in the know about what we know. It’s also important that you have the most accurate and up-to-date information from us.”
Capri Sun was only successful with one of the four social media crisis planning keys. It will be interesting to see the impact on Capri Sun sales and the rehabilitation attempts Kraft implements to repair its image.
In the meantime, I’ll only be drinking 100 percent pure Florida orange juice.