Cosmopolitan magazine is one of the most widely distributed magazines in the world and is one of the 20 most popular magazines in the world and the favorite of the market in terms of physical activity and diet. But in April 2017, the magazine published an article about Simone Harbinson, a famous fitness blogger. The name of the article was “How this woman lost 44 pounds without doing * any * exercise”, where they talked mainly about the diet that Harbinson followed to achieve an ideal body weight.
However, Harbinson had been diagnosed with cancer, he had a tumor that was found in the appendix, so he underwent various surgeries and this diet was the one he had to follow after the operations because he suffered -in addition- a series of medical complications. But being a fitness enthusiast, she talked about her post-illness recovery process in the Cosmopolitan magazine and the article highlighted the fact that she had achieved her ideal weight without doing any kind of exercise.
The article had immediate reactions on Twitter, especially the Huffington Post, and Cosmopolitan was asked to withdraw the article for attributing their weight reduction only to their illness (ie, extolling the disease as a way to lose weight), without taking Consider the eating habits that Simone had to acquire from the operations he underwent to beat cancer. Cosmopolitan was criticized in social networks for using flashy and deceptive titles in order to generate more followers. The reaction of Cosmopolitan was to remove the article from its website. Necessary action to avoid that the number of retweets that criticized the title of the article will increase, but it was not enough, since the magazine continued to have negative reactions. Simone Harbinson at no time expressed discomfort with the magazine, even uploaded a photo to Instagram thanking “the honor” of presenting his case. However, because of the disgust that it caused to the readers, she was also forced to remove the gratitude
In Political Risks, we recommend that companies implement strategies to reverse reputational damage, not only to stop it. Each day that passed was an opportunity for Cosmopolitan to tell his side of the story. But by simply eliminating the article, social networks became a forum for people to share their own experiences with cancer, further exacerbating the negative perception of this type of journals that are often criticized for their ” superficiality”. A few days later, Cosmopolitan returned to publish the article, now under the title “A serious medical problem helped me to love my body more than ever”.
This situation could be classified as an “almost” crisis; that is to say, the event did not transcend to generate damages to the magazine, but it was limited to the activism in social networks. As Dolce & Gabbana experienced it, there are events that, due to luck, do not end in crisis, until luck ends. Companies should not trust that luck will always be on their side. Instead, they must establish mechanisms to contain damages and reputational crises before they can generate losses to companies.
Do you think that your company is exposed to a crisis due to activism in social networks and you do not know how you could handle it? We support you, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.