Bauschwhacked! The Anatomy of a Recall
By May 15, 2006, the count of U.S. users of contact lenses who contracted Fusarium Keratitis, an eye infection, reached 122. Most were Bausch & Lomb customers.
If you are Bausch & Lomb, how do you deal with this PR catastrophe?
A Laser Surgery Story
Many years ago, Seattle guru Bob Hacker, one of the most brilliant and knowledgeable direct marketing consultants on the planet (and also one of the most feisty), made a sales call together with one of his account supervisors on a laser eye surgery center.
The head surgeon said his direct mail was not working and was not interested in pursuing it. Hacker asked to see the letter, eyeballed the copy and said, "I can quadruple your response or I will pay for the mailing and not charge you a fee."
Hacker's associate, who was trained never to make outlandish promises in initial meetings, nearly lost it. "How could you say a thing like that?" he barked on the way to the parking lot.
Hacker explained that this lead generation contained the following sentence in the second paragraph:
And what's more, when we cut into your eye it doesn't hurt nearly as much as you think it would.
"Take that line out and response will quadruple—at least," Hacker said.
Hacker did not land the account, but his critique of the letter was spot-on. Does a person exist anywhere on the planet that does not have a lurking fear of losing vision?
Bausch & Lomb's PR Debacle
For the Bausch & Lomb Company, roughly 23 percent of its $2.2 billion in sales came from contact lens care products. In 2005, ReNu with MoistureLoc accounted for $45 million from an estimated three million customers.
July 17, 2002: The Atlanta District Office of the FDA sent a "WARNING LETTER" via Federal Express to chairman Ron Zarella outlining deficiencies in the manufacturing processes at the Greenville, S.C. plant.