How Crock-Pot’s Response to This is Us is a Perfect PR Response

Crock-PotWhether or not you are a fan of NBC’s This is Us, you have probably heard the big reveal that finally shares with viewers how beloved husband and father, Jack, dies.
The show’s writers have been hinting at this really since the beginning of the program.  And thanks to a faulty slow-cooker and no batteries in the smoke detector, we now know that it is a fire that claims his life.
Last week’s episode set the stage – and this Sunday (Super Bowl Sunday, which again for those that watch is quite significant), will bring it full circle.
But this post is about that faulty slow-cooker and how arguably the largest slow-cooker brand, Crock-Pot, found itself in the midst of this very sad drama.
As you can imagine, the show’s fans immediately took to Twitter and Facebook (as we often do during the show) to express not only our sorrow but concern about the safety of our beloved Crock-Pot.  Could it really start a fire?
Whether Crock-Pot had an advanced copy of the script or not, the social media team’s response was quick and on-target.  And as an agency that has been involved in a variety of crisis communications situations in the past, quick and on-target is the only way to go.
Crock-Pot created its first-ever Twitter account — @CrockPotCares.
The company posted to Facebook this message complete with broken heart emojis and a photo of a Pittsburgh Steelers-branded Crock-Pot. The Pittsburgh Steelers were Jack’s favorite team.
`THIS IS US’ SPOILER ALERT. We’re still trying to mend our heart after watching `This Is Us’ on Tuesday night. America’s favorite dad and husband deserved a better exit and Crock-Pot shares in your devastation. Don’t further add to this tragedy by throwing your Crock-Pot Slow Cooker away. It’s hard to pass something down from generation to generation if you throw it away (grandma won’t be too happy). Spending time with his family while enjoying comfort food from his Crock-Pot was one of his favorite things to do. Let’s all do our part and honor his legacy in the kitchen with Crock-Pot.
It’s a little over a week since the episode aired and people are still quite upset. Crock-Pot has continued its communications with its followers not only by expressing empathy but also taking the opportunity to further emphasize its important safety messages. Take a look at #CrockPotIsInnocent.
And here’s the statement the company sent the media:
“For nearly 50 years, with over 100 million Crock-Pots sold, we have never received any consumer complaints similar to the fictional events portrayed in last night’s episode. In fact, the safety and design of our product renders this type of event nearly impossible.
In addition, and most relevant to the concerns consumers are having after watching the recent `This Is Us’ episode, our Crock-Pot slow cookers are low current, low wattage (typically no more than 200 or 300 watts) appliances with self-regulating, heating elements.”
We always tell our clients that they need a crisis communications plan.  Whether the crisis is of your own doing or as a result of the actions of others, having a plan in place means you’ll be prepared for anything.
Having a crisis plan in place will ensure that you:

  • Provide general guidelines for decision-making prior to and following a crisis situation
  • Identify/clarify responsibilities and use your time wisely
  • Minimize down time or business disruption
  • Minimize confusion and rumors and that all information is accurate, timely, and consistent to all your target audiences
  • Protect organization’s reputation and brand
  • Maintain credible relationship with community, industry and the media to support rebuilding efforts

I am bringing chili to the neighborhood Super Bowl party, lovingly made in my Crock-Pot slow cooker.  And I have set the DVR so that I will not miss a single minute of This Is Us following the game. RIP Jack.

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at Feb 1, 2018

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