While the Prima Deli crisis continues to escalate over its recent salmonella poisoning incident, the guys in MINDEF actually gets it quite right dealing with their own recent public relations mishap. A military plane left on the ground at Tengah airbase, testing a new dye for aerial performances, managed to get the dye sprayed over vegetable crops in nearby farms and other private property.
In MINDEF’s case, they had reacted swiftly and taken control, and instituted measures to mitigate a potentially embarrassing PR incident. It was reported in previous reports that MINDEF officers had swiftly visited affected farmers to reassure them that MINDEF would do all it can to help. A hotline was set up for affected members of the public – such as those who wanted to know how to clean up their red-stained cars – no more than 2 days from the incident.
Compare the media coverage on Prima Deli, such as the one on Dec 7 in TODAY entitled “Four more Prima staff test positive”, with this Straits Times writeup on Dec 9 titled “Vegetable farms hit by dye get Mindef compensation”.
Remarkably different coverage in tone and angle, isn’t it? It’s no fluke, I’m sure, on MINDEF’s part to avert a potential public relations disaster.
On the other hand, coolinsider Walter and I wondered why Prima Deli had initially depended on AVA and MOH to front the crisis when it blew instead of leading the damage control. As a result, they didn’t have the momentum, nor the credibility, to deal with the flood of negative publicity.
At least Prima Deli has taken correct steps in issuing statements from its General Manager on Dec 4 and Dec 6 on its website, aimed to prevent further fallout. We hope Prima Deli comes out of this crisis stronger and wiser, as Singaporeans are already very attached to this home-grown brand.
And kudos to our men in uniform for a crisis management job well done.