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PR Pros On What General Mills Got Right, Wrong With 'Cinnamon Toast Shrimp'

PR Pros On What General Mills Got Right, Wrong With 'Cinnamon Toast Shrimp'

Denise Lee Yohn, the author of the book "What Great Brands Do," spoke with Ad Age's Jessica Wohl about the unusual story of an individual finding what looked like shrimp tails in his box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch in an incident known as "Shrimpgate" and "Cinnamon Toast Shrimp" on social media. 

Yohn Says General Mills Got It Wrong: Cinnamon Toast Crunch maker General Mills, Inc. (NYSE: GIS) responded to Jensen Karp's original tweet about the issue by stating that it would "report this to our quality team and replace the box."

Instead, Yohn told Ad Age the company should have asked Karp what he would consider a reasonable resolution or response.

"Even if the company would not do what he wanted, they would at least understand what it would take for his concerns to be assuaged and be able to issue an appropriate response," she said in the interview.

General Mills was also wrong in its original message when it didn't take the claim as seriously as it should have, she said. 

Even if there is no basis for a claim, it's "the perception that matters," Yohn said. 

Customers don't like it when brands "seem to be bullying or diminishing other people," she told AdAge. 

Related Link: Shrimp Tails In Cinnamon Toast Crunch? What You Need To Know (Or Don't Want To Know)

'Corporate Speak': General Mills' message just screams of typical "corporate speak," Gene Grabowski, partner at public relations and public affairs firm Kglobal, also told Ad Age.

Consumers are "fed up" with this type of corporate-speak and want to see "real people talking," he said. 

General Mills CEO Jeff Harmening earns a score of B+ for stating on CNBC that "we can say with confidence that this did not occur at our facilit," Grabowski said. 

The "CEO of a major corporation does have to speak like the CEO of a major corporation," he said. 

Grabowski's personal experience includes working with more than 200 food and consumer product recalls.

Around one-third of all recalls are the result of hoaxes, and "very few" recalls are the result of quality control, he said. 

GIS Price Action: General Mills shares were up 1.9% at $62.13 at last check Monday. 


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Posted-In: Ad Age food Jessica Wohl ShrimpgateNews Media Best of Benzinga

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