(Warning: This post contains spoilers about the latest episode of NBC’s “This Is Us.”)
It’s safe to say the folks at Crock-Pot never saw THIS coming…
Fans of the award-winning hit NBC series “This Is Us” have known since season one that Jack Pearson (played by Milo Ventimiglia) dies tragically; they just didn’t know how. Its audience later learned he loses his life in a fire. They now know what started it: a defective Crock-Pot.
CNN Media spelled it out: “In the the final scene of Tuesday night’s episode viewers watch him clean the kitchen after a Super Bowl celebration…but after he leaves the room the pot shorts out and sets the house on fire. The final shot is Jack’s face when the blaze reaches his bedroom… After the show, heartbroken fans on Twitter expressed their anger at the product for the death of the character.”
Many followers tweeted they were throwing out their Crock-Pots and parent company Newell Brands lost 24 percent of its stock value the day after the show’s broadcast. Crock-Pot opened a Twitter account for the first time to respond to the growing public relations crisis.
The company’s official statement read: “For nearly 50 years with over 100 million Crock-Pots sold, we have never received any consumer complaints similar to the fictional events portrayed in last night’s episode. In fact, the safety and design of our product renders this type of event nearly impossible.” The company added in a Twitter response, “We’re heartbroken over last night’s episode, too! But don’t worry, you can still make your favorite meals in your #CrockPot with confidence. We want to assure all consumers we rigorously test our products for safety.”
“If the backlash doesn’t die down soon, Crock-Pot may need NBC and ‘This Is Us’ to intervene more vocally,” said Andrew Gilman, founder of crisis communications firm CommCore Consulting Group. I agree; NBC should probably show Crock-Pot some love.
PR crises often happen suddenly and can come from unlikely places. While it wasn’t the network’s intention to disparage this venerable product, it has created a real problem for the Crock-Pot brand. If you were handling PR for NBC–or Crock-Pot–how would you respond? Your thoughts?