In today’s online age, it seems the world’s most powerful brands are making the most reckless PR missteps. This week, worldwide powerhouse Coca-Cola finds itself under fire after releasing an ill-advised commercial for Fanta in Germany.
The commercial, which celebrates the soda’s 75th birthday, tells the story of Fanta’s creation when Coca-Cola products became scarce in Germany. It smacks of nostalgia, referencing the “feeling of the good old times.” This all seems perfectly innocuous until online commenters noted the reason for the Coca-Cola shortage: trade embargos against the Nazi regime during World War II.
Coca-Cola quickly took down the ad, and a spokesperson apologized, “Fanta was invented in Germany during the Second World War, but the 75-year-old brand had no association with Hitler or the Nazi Party.”
In the end, Coca-Cola responded appropriately. When faced with a communications crisis, the best course of action is to acknowledge the problem, implement a remedy, apologize and move on. That said, with a little research, they could have avoided the misstep altogether.
Avoiding crises is always the best option for companies. When one is unavoidable, however, following Coca-Cola’s lead in using crisis PR best practices is the only way forward.