Look for Crisis on the Label

Kryptonite bike locks: always protecting what defines you.

Probably not the best slogan to promote a lock that can be picked with a ballpoint pen.

The Kryptonite evolution 2000 U-lock was advertised as ‘the toughest bicycle security in moderate to high crime areas’. Kryptonite invented the original U-lock in 1971 and set the standard for premium bike lock security. in 2004 a man discovered he could pick the Kryptonite 2000 with a Bic pen, then he wrote about on his blog. Naturally the story spread in record time, even prompting the New York Times to write a story about it.

So you’re thinking… where is Kryptonite in all of this?

Kryptonite did nothing. There was no response via social media, regular media or otherwise. Kryptonite did not respond at all.

If it were me running Kryptonite’s social strategy I would take full advantage of what would be an incredibly embarrassing crises.

The first thing I would do is immediately recognize the blog and address the issue directly on the man’s blog with humor and tact. I would thank the gentleman for his incredible skills and state that ‘though Kryptonite was tested with all sorts of tools and put under many strenuous tests, we as a company had overlooked testing it with a Bic pen’ and thank him for pointing out this weakness in our product. The second thing I would do is offer the man an opportunity to test out the Kryptonite products from here on out, using his skills would definitely be beneficial to the company. The third would be to use the guy in different advertising campaigns, poking a bit of fun at the company and ultimately turning the situation into a positive one.

Like we explored in class, whether it’s a corporation or anyone else, when you openly admit to a mistake and can laugh at your own short comings the situation will almost immediately be extinguished. The joys of having a crisis online is that you can use the negative attention to create and develop positive attention and stand out in people’s minds who you may not have reached in the first places.

Unfortunately for Kryptonite, they stand out in people’s minds in a whole other way.










4 thoughts on “Look for Crisis on the Label

  1. Wow, what a major PR blunder! I’m assuming in 2004 social media wasn’t quite the threat it can be now, but that leaves no excuse. I wonder how they recovered their reputation and how long it took. They’re definitely back on top again in the biking community.

  2. This crisis is certainly hard to overcome. I liked your idea of thanking the blogger for the oversight and would also agree that bringing him on as tester would hopefully lead to this gentleman being an influencer moving forward. I know if i had purchased one of these locks i would have a hard time buying another one after i heard about this!

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