"Pink Slime": A Media-Induced Crisis
Nelson, Sarah J.
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Lean finely textured beef, or “pink slime,” became the center of media attention on March 7, 2012, when American Broadcasting Company (ABC) began an extensive series of reports centered on the controversial beef product and its treatment process. The reputation of the leading producer of the product, Beef Products, Inc. (BPI), quickly tarnished following the coverage. The company faced public scrutiny and, subsequently, a significant drop in sales. This case study examined how the media influences public opinion and drives consumer demand, as well as its ability to induce a crisis. It also analyzed BPI’s reputation management and communication strategies during the crisis and initial post-crisis stages. Findings revealed that initial agenda setting effects were stronger than consistent, strategic, reactive image restoration strategies.