News broke over the weekend that Mars had recalled some Galaxy chocolate bars, packets of minstrels and Maltesers Teasers across the UK and Ireland following fears that the products might contain salmonella. In announcing the recall, the company said that up to 3,000 customers could be affected.
Our brand tracking data points to the immediate impact on consumer perception the recall may have, and our data from the last time Mars experienced a recall points to how it can expect to recover.
Last March, when Mars announced its previous recall, the brand’s Buzz score (whether someone has heard something positive or negative about the brand), fell by 18 points (from +3 to -15). However, due to the swiftness of Mars’ response, the story was quickly forgotten about and its score recovered to its former level within matter of weeks.
There are signs that a similar trend may occur this time around. Galaxy’s Buzz score decreased from +5 to +1 in the first days following the recall, while the Mars brand also fell by four points, despite no Mars bars being affected by the scare.
YouGov’s Brand Crisis: Product Recall report indicates that an event such as this does lasting damage when the organisation in question refuses to acknowledge the problem and fails to take responsibility for it. Good examples of this are VW and Samsung after their respective crises. Indeed, we have previously found that while one in five (21%) consumers have stopped using brands as a result of a scandal, over a third of this group (35%) have stopped using the brand because of a faulty product or a recall.
On this occasion, Mars has been proactive both in its response, and the steps it has taken to reassure customers. This should ensure that underlying brand perception isn’t unduly troubled by the news.