Episode 002 – It’s the End of the World As We Know It Again… Again.

Hi. Welcome to episode 2 of Kill the Ad Man. It’s kind of a 2nd part to our first episode “It’s the End of the World as We Know It… Again”. We’re going to look into the recent past to see how other brands have handled the kinds of crisis that are thrust upon them… and ones of their own making. This isn’t an episode about crisis management or public relations. But it is instructive for marketers and brand owners to pick up a couple examples of what to do, and what not to do

Rob starts by discussing how a recent Rebox client needed to change their name after an unknown terrorist group in the Middle East gained a lot more notoriety using the same name. This demonstrates the value of perception of brands in the world, no matter how big they are.  

Kevin talks about the recent (and so far, alleged) revelations that Johnson & Johnson baby powder may have been contaminated with asbestos, and how long the company has known about it. How they’ve responded to it resembles another industries response to adverse health claims. How does this response reflect on the brand in the eye of the consumer? 

Rob notes the difference between Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder response to another crisis one of their brands faced in the early 1980s. The Tylenol cyanide poisoning crisis in Chicago is cited as a textbook example of how a brand can respond to a crisis. The short-term pain of their actions was paid with enormous benefits in the future. 

BP and Deepwater Horizon are discussed, 10 years after the accident. BP’s brand change from British Petroleum to Beyond Petroleum is noted and we talk about how that idea is destroyed by what happens in 2010. We talk about how B2B actions resolve in consumer response. 

We close with Big Chief Beef Jerky, a Rebox client who underwent a rebranding with the associated visual identity change to respond to changing consumer perception of their brand. What was acceptable 40 years ago isn’t culturally appropriate today, and Big Chief engaged with the public and First Nations group, investing the time and money into rebranding. 

This episode’s lessons: being true to your brand and who you are is going to inform the steps you’re going to take. Your brand needs to work with deliberate intention to work to control its perception in the marketplace. 

Rob gives us our first Rebox Rant, telling brands to put their money where their mouth is. 

Thanks for checking out the second episode of Kill the Ad Man. Have feedback or a comment to make? Visit our contact page and drop us a note. Think we’re full of it? Completely agree? Fall somewhere in between? We’d be happy to hear from you. 

If you want to learn more about what we do at Rebox – a B2B Brand Distillery, visit us at http://wearerebox.com 

Thanks for listening! We look forward to getting Episode 3 out very soon. 


Kevin M. and Mr. Rob 

If you want to read a bit more about some of the brands in today’s episode, please check out the links below.