NEW YORK: The Duane Reade drug store chain responded to last week's
crisis by asking its in-house comms staff to produce radio and
television spots telling customers where they could have their
prescriptions filled after 20 of its 193 stores were closed during the
September 11 World Trade Center attack.
The in-house communications staff, in coordination with senior
management, quickly wrote the radio and TV spots that directed
customers - expecting their prescriptions to be filled at one of the
closed stores - to other Duane Reade locations in Manhattan.
The spots also promoted the Duane Reade website, where consumers could
access the telephone numbers of pharmacies or fill emergency
prescriptions by submitting them online. As part of its effort to inform
the public, the in-house team also contacted local media to make it
aware of the emergency prescription service.
On September 12, the commercials aired on New York radio and television
stations, and they'll continue to run until all affected stores have
At press time, all but three stores were back in business. Duane Reade
lost one store that was located on the ground floor of the World Trade
Center, but all employees were able to evacuate to safety.
Jack Cohen, an account representative for Morgen-Walke, the PR agency
that represents Duane Reade, called the spots "humanitarian," and said
that the communications staff had gone to the unusual lengths of writing
the spots themselves because the company wanted customers who might be
in dire need of their prescriptions (such as seniors or patients with
heart conditions) to be aware of the options available to them.
"A press release doesn't reach the average consumer," said Cohen. "The
commercials were rushed out by the communications staff to get the
bare-bones facts out to the public."
The 30-year-old company has been donating prescription drugs, first-aid
supplies, and consumables to hospital and emergency service workers
during the crisis. It announced that because of the tragedy it would
report lower third-quarter earnings than expected.
Duane Reade CEO Anthony J. Cuti issued a statement that read in part,
"It is with great sadness that we reflect upon the tragic events that
took place on September 11, and our deepest sympathy extends to all
those who have been affected."