40 M $ for sexting

The huge fast-food chain fired Steve Easterbrook 8 months ago for sexting with a subordinate. McDonald’s was able to ‘smooth’ the case quite well. But few days ago a skeleton fell out of the closet: Easterbrook had relation with two other employees. It did not help, that the former CEO sent the images as attachments on emails from his work to his personal account.

Until last fall, Mr. Easterbrook, a native of Watford, England, was regarded as something of a savior at McDonald’s. He had worked at the company for nearly two decades before taking its helm in March 2015. The fast-food chain was in a financial slump. Mr. Easterbrook streamlined its businesses, introduced technological innovations like touch-screen ordering and delighted customers by offering all-day breakfasts. The company’s shares roughly doubled during his tenure.

The damaging affect to the company’s reputation is doubtful. But how should react such a valuable brand for this kind of demolition?

On PR professionals’ opinion – Vodafone and Ab InBev– , there are six actions to take:

  1. Determine which crises you should respond to
  2. Identify the important stakeholders in each crisis
  3. Determine how you will respond
  4. Empower your people
  5. Move from crisis management to business continuity
  6. Create a plan of response for the future (RepTrak)

It’s undeniable that McDonald’s has one of the most recognisable brand images in the world, and that this has certainly helped keep them at the top of the food chain for such a long time. They definietely have hard days, but I am sure, the brand’s value does not suffer permanent damage and it will creep back.

Chris Kempczinski McDonald’s CEO (since 2019) said:

As we recommit to our values, now, more than ever, is the time to lean in to what we stand for and act as a positive force for change.

Anyway, fortunately it is not 1975, when the company’s slogan was:

We do it all for you…

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