He ordered an enquiry and went directly to the media with a statement.
Huge media attention and he graphic nature of the coverage resulted in the consumer perception that every bar could be infested. The incident came close on the heels of a cola controversy where a scientific laboratory declared colas unsafe due to high levels of pesticide. The jury was still out on that issue and so this incident acquired political overtones with parties decrying Cadbury as an irresponsible MNC. Andrea Dawson- Shepherd, Global Corporate Communication Counsel, Cadbury Schweppes called it ‘the worst worm infestation-related crisis anywhere in the world’.
The immediate objective was to get the following key messages across: o Infestation could never occur at the manufacturing stage o The problem was storage linked; this without alienating trade channels o Cadbury Dairy Milk continued to be safe for consumption The challenge was to restore confidence in the key stakeholders (trade and employees, particularly salespersons) and build back credibility for the corporate brand through the same channels (the media) that questioned it.
The problem started in one city, Mumbai, but later spread to other towns in the states of Maharashtra and Kerala.
But it became a nationwide crisis since national media covered it. So clearly the first target audience that needed to be addressed was the media – both electronic and print media, national and local. Additionally, two other stakeholder groups were identified. Trade partners, as their confidence was shaken. Finally, as intense media coverage continued, it became important and critical to include the employees, especially salespersons as the third group.