AAA Gaming Headache? Try Tylenol.

AAA Gaming Headache? Try Tylenol.

In late September of 1982,  twelve year old Mary Kellerman died mysteriously after complaining of a headache. Later that day Adam Janus, his brother and his sister in law also died mysteriously after complaining of a headache. Local medical officials were terrified that this might be the spread of some terrible, new, rapid-killing disease, noting that all those who died complained of a headache prior to their collapse. Upon further investigation, the group realized that all the deceased had taken Tylenol prior to the incident. Upon testing it was revealed that the pills contained cyanide, a deadly chemical that can be lethal when ingested.

Johnson & Johnson, the makers of Tylenol were now faced with a nightmare scenario, their product was literally killing people. The consumer trust Johnson & Johnson had worked to instill in its customers since its founding in 1886, could disappear overnight. Worst of all, there was no way to know how many bottles of Tylenol were contaminated, how many were left in circulation, and where the contaminated bottles were. True, all of the incidents had occurred in the Chicago metropolitan area, but without knowing the source of the contamination, there was still no way to know where the remaining contaminated bottles may be.

From a corporate crisis perspective, it doesn’t get much worse than that.

What did Johnson & Johnson do? The pulled every single Tylenol product off the shelves, nationwide. They ran advertisements telling people not to take Tylenol. They helped investigators in any way they could. They even offered to replace customer’s existing Tylenol with new, solid capsule pills they could ensure had not been tampered with. The total cost of pulling the existing Tylenol alone resulted in the destruction in over $200 million in merchandise.

Johnson & Johnson was praised nationally for their actions, and the example is still taught in business schools around the world about how to handle a crisis. Johnson & Johnson didn’t try to minimize the problem, they didn’t try to hide it, if anything they did the opposite, they brought the crisis to the forefront and led by example. They didn’t just meet what consumers expected of them, they far exceeded how consumers expected them to react. They proved themselves to be a company that consumers could trust to do the right thing in a moment of crisis.

***

I think its fair to say that the last six months of 2018 have not been the best for AAA publishers. I don’t need to name names, but off the top of my head I can think of at least three major missteps by big name publishers. Missteps that not only hurt sales in the short term
but have no doubt damaged their image, and tanked the value of some very valuable franchises.

When faced with these missteps, none of these publishers handled it right. Not one got in front of the issue, not one met consumers expectations, let alone exceeded them. I am not trying to add fuel to the fire, there is no further point in criticizing these publishers. All we can do is hope for, and expect better from them in the future.

I have a very firm belief that crisis management is actually very easy, as business leaders we all know the right way to handle a problem, but very few of us have the courage to do it, our ideals get clouded by pride and financial considerations.

We at Last Best Offer always try to do right by the customer. Our first priority is to our investors. AKA the people that invest their hard earned money into buying games from us. If there is anything you think we can do better, let us know in the comments, we’re always here to help, and always eager to get better!

Cheers!

-Alex