MIAMI: Burger King (BK) has managed to avoid a media slating
following last month's death of a four-year-old boy who had become
trapped in netting in a St. Louis branch play area.
Media coverage of its subsequent decision to replace playground netting
at more than 650 locations has been neutral to favorable, a BK
spokesperson told PRWeek.
Covered by Reuters, CNN, Dow Jones, AP and The Miami Herald, BK
announced with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) that it
would replace two-inch playground netting with quarter-inch netting.
The CPSC is the independent federal regulatory agency charged with
keeping American families safe by reducing the risk of injury or death
from consumer products.
Kim Miller, BK's senior director of PR, said she had worked with CPSC
and franchisees over the past two weeks to ensure BK was ready to
announce its plan.
"We did a survey with the CPSC to make sure franchisees had the
mechanisms to do this in a timely manner," said Miller.
By working with the CPSC instead of hiding problems, BK scored points
against rival McDonald's, which has paid dollars 9 million in government
settlements over the past six years for failing to inform the CPSC of
its own playground injuries.
Miller said BK chose to work with the CPSC to ensure fast and correct
upgrades in playground safety. To make sure national media was aware
that BK and the CPSC were working in concert, BK produced a special
b-roll package and sent out two media alerts, each listing the package's
"We had a team comprising myself, other folks from the PR group and a
playground safety expert working on this initiative and all available
for interviews," said Miller. She added that as part of the effort, CPSC
people were also available for interviews.