How IRVINS' PR statement won over consumer hearts despite lizard incident

Singapore-based food company IRVINS Salted Egg seems to be winning over the hearts of netizens with its heartfelt apology.

The brand found itself in a very unfortunate situation and in the midst of a PR storm when a customer reported on Facebook that she found a dead lizard in her packet of chips. Acting swiftly, the brand responded with a sincere apology on its Facebook post, highlighting that it will provide refunds to those impacted. Founder Irvin Gunawan, who wrote the post, said that the team was "shocked and devastated" at the situation, adding that it was a "major blow" to the team.

"We really want to sincerely apologise to the customer and everyone who is affected by this incident directly or indirectly. We take full responsibility for the goods that we sell and everything in it. I have since personally contacted the customer and will continue to do so to make sure that she and her family is alright," he said.

Despite not having much more to explain on how this mishap occurred, several netizens praised the brand and its PR team on the statement saying this was "PR crisis management at its best". Others said it was willing to support the brand by purchasing more chips packets. The fiasco died out with the apology and netizens seemed appeased.

Carolyn Camoens, managing director of Asia, Hume Brophy said that authenticity is everything today and Irvin's was successful in getting people on its side because itsapology was authentic. "No excuses. No attempt to sidestep responsibility for what happened. They straight up said sorry and consumers forgave them," she said.

"Audiences today have become desensitised to canned, corporate spin. They can spot spiel a mile away and tend to mistrust overly engineered statements. Irvin's apology was simple and sincere. And that's what made it effective."

Meanwhile, Lars Voedisch , principal consultant and managing director of PRecious Communications said that IRVINS moved fast in acknowledging the incident and sincerely apologising.

According to Voedisch, in situations such as this, speed to respond and showing empathy are key.

Too often 'sorry' seems to be the hardest words for brands - but that's actually what consumers want to hear. He explained that for IRVINS, it also helped that the apology didn't use overly corporate or even legal language and came directly from the founder together with the promise to make necessary changes to avoid this from ever happening again.

"In a crisis it is crucial to fix the matter at hand, which is firstly to figure out how to deal with the one customer affected. But, it is also important to address what the brand is doing to avoid an incident such as this to happen again," he said.