Just when we thought the trouble had passed for Blue Bell Creamery, the company is recalling Cookie Dough ice cream because of Listeria concerns. Last year, Blue Bell recalled several products, which resulted in staff layoffs, a difficult situation for a family-owned company with loyal employees.
This time, the company is clearly blaming external supplier Aspen Hills. The latter company's recall announcement tops Blue Bell's webpage. Then, Blue Bell's press release is titled to deflect responsibility:
"BLUE BELL ICE CREAM RECALLS SELECT PRODUCTS CONTAINING CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DOUGH PIECES PURCHASED FROM OUTSIDE SUPPLIER ASPEN HILLS DUE TO POSSIBLE HEALTH RISK"
Blue Bell uses a similar strategy on its Facebook page, pointing to Aspen Hills as the cause of the problem. To downplay the issue, the company starts the announcement with "Out of an abundance of caution," further putting the bad news in context.
- Who are the audiences for Blue Bell's announcement? Identify primary and secondary audiences and analyze each.
- How well is Blue Bell announcing the bad news? Consider principles from Chapter 8, Bad-News Messages.
- Analyze word choices in all Blue Bell communications. Which are the most powerful? Which could be improved?