Monday, November 22, 2010

Dunkin Donuts Crisis Communication

Dunkin' Donuts has not encountered many crises throughout the years, however there are a couple examples when the company had to take action.

In May 2008, Food Network star Rachael Ray was featured in a Dunkin' online ad in which she was wearing a simple silk scarf. This scarf, however, caused a ruckus. Many people said the scarf looked like a keffiyeh, or a traditional male Arab headdress, and complained because of the "symbolism." As soon as Dunkin' heard about the comments they immediately tried to explain that it was simply a scarf, but when people continued to discuss the topic they removed the ad and put out a statement:

"In a recent online ad, Rachael Ray is wearing a black-and-white silk scarf with a paisley design. It was selected by her stylist for the advertising shoot. Absolutely no symbolism was intended. However, given the possibility of misperception, we are no longer using the commercial."

[photo of Rachael Ray + scarf: ]

Though the removal of the ad may have quieted done the original opposers, it also sparked judgment from others who said they should not have taken down the ad. In my opinion, I agree with the latter; I don't think they needed to remove the ad. If they simply addressed the bloggers who were posting negative comments and perhaps explained further that it was just a plain old scarf--maybe even going as far as to prove the brand or logo of the scarf--then the bloggers would have no real evidence to base their claims upon and the chatter would fizzle out. However because they removed the ad entirely it brought far more media attention to the fiasco and other people felt compelled to comment on the issue.

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