Posted June 20, 2007 11:49 am by with 4 comments

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Toy maker RC2 is facing a reputation crisis over the recall of 1.5 million Thomas the Tank Engine toys, contaminated with lead-based paint.

The company has thus far refused to discuss the recall – which includes products manufactured over a two year period – but its biggest mistake may have been to piss-off The New York Times.

Company executives did not return repeated phone calls left at their homes and offices. A manager at the RC2 factory in Dongguan detained a New York Times reporter for more than nine hours after he had been admitted to the premises by security guards to ask questions about the operation.

It’s worth pondering whether the NYT story might have been shorter and less damaging, had RC2 not detained its reporters for 9 hours and actually explained to them all the steps the company is taking to protect the public.

Hat-tip to Willem!

  • That’s such a shame really. It’s true that it would have been hard to turn into a good news story, but it would have been quite easy to send out an “RC2 cares for out customers” message instead of “We don’t really care about anyone, so we’ll just hide under this rock”.

    Here’s to an opportunity lost !

  • Everyone know your not supposed to invite a vampire into your house…See what happens!

  • Every time I’m facing a reputation crisis and the New York Times calls me at home for an interview, I promptly answer back. It’s better to do that than giving them the old heave-ho! 😛

  • You’d hope a company facing that kind of crisis would have the sense to consult with an expert of some kind (know any, Andy??!). They should at least get enough advice to avoid the *really obvious* mistakes…