A few days ago, Judy Gombita emailed me a viral link to I Do Dog Tricks. This is a really clever site where Jilli a Yorkshire Terrier dog obeys commands that you submit, such as sit, down, roll over, sneeze, jump, fetch, play dead, spin, vogue, dance, stand, shake, bark, and kiss (which is the best).
Very cute and one to pass on. Although as it is intended to promote a dog worming product, Heartgard, I was surprised to note the link from the performing pooch to the company wasn’t reciprocated from the corporate end (as far as I can see).
Then I noticed the maker was Merial – a world-leading animal health company that I’d never heard of, until this morning.
Merial Animal Health Limited is in the news owing to the current outbreak of foot and mouth disease. I heard its managing director, David Biland, read a statement on the the BBC this morning. There is no indication that the company is at fault and its PR strategy of halting production, briefing employees to handle enquiries and stick to known facts was textbook.
But my second surprise of the day was that there is nothing on the Merial media website regarding the current crisis, simply a series of promotional press releases and a statement:
Please find below recent company press releases. The information contained in these press releases was produced for bona fide agricultural and veterinary journalists. It is not intended for the general public.
Clearly the company doesn’t quite understand the value of using its websites to communicate with all audiences – whether they are customers who would like to pass on a cutsy viral video, or anyone wanting to know more about a crisis situation.