The Four Loko Controversy

Four Loko was created in 2005 when three graduates from The Ohio State University created Phusion Projects. It is an alcoholic beverage sold in 23.5-ounce cans with 12% alcohol and also includes caffeine, taurine, and guarana, common ingredients found in energy drinks. Since Red Bull became a popular mixer, the concerns of mixing energy drinks and a depressant (alcohol) was found to be alarming. Four Loko was sold with the alcohol and energy ingredients already included, so when the drink began raising some steam in 2009, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) started studying the effects of Four Loko and similar products.

In the last few days, Four Loko has announced they are removing the caffeine, taurine, and guarana from their drink. Was this at the request of the FDA who, a day later, announced they were in preparation to ban caffeine from all alcoholic beverages? While
Four Loko is remaining tight lipped, the pressure they were receiving from parent groups and health officials may have been enough pressure in itself.

Is Four Loko going to remain the most popular beverage on college campuses? Or is this the end of the company as we know it?

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How could FedEx utilize the attention from the Yemen Shipping Crisis?

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Is FedEx receiving backlash and reputation damage for the "mysterious package" crisis last week? It seems as though the company is just going on its way like normal. To the average person in the public, they are. As a communicator, I can't help but ask how they are handling the negative attention they may be getting. On their website, the shipping giant has a simple statement (http://news.van.fedex.com/YemenShipmentOctober2010) explaining the situation briefly and the fact that the company is cooperating with the investigation. In addition, the company's comments share that they are no longer receiving shipments from Yemen and have no idea when the restrictions will end.

Since this is really the only communication that FedEx has made with the public, I question why they made the choice to remain relatively quiet. They say they are following their crisis communications plan, but there does not seem to be much communicating with the public. Is this their plan? This is a huge nation security issue and they could get a great deal of free or cheap advertising from this situation. They are dealing with it responsibly and it is clear to the general public that FedEx is not at fault for the situation, so utilizing the media attention could be useful to them.

While some may argue they shouldn't take advantage of the situation because it is of such importance to the entire nation, companies need to be looking for these opportunities and be careful in deciding when to take action. FedEx could get their name out there while weighing in on the crisis affecting the world right now.

Who am I?

Engaging, creative, and strategic, Allison Henning has a passion for helping nonprofits communicate their visions and work to the community.

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