The Coles – MasterChef filo fiasco

Last night on Channel Ten’s ever popular MasterChef a team challenge was issued to the contestants of this hit program.

Contestants were split into two teams and asked to prepare a three course meal for a family – who they were to locate in their “local” Coles supermarket.

Coles is a major sponsor of MasterChef Australia, so it’s logical that airtime would be given to this key advertiser. One of the teams had “sourced” their family (pardon the pun!) and had entered the family house to prepare the meal, when sacré bleu… the filo this team had “purchased” from Coles was past its use-by date! This incident threw a spanner in the works in regards to one of their dishes and ultimately made the two contestants responsible face elimination.

Firstly this incident proves that not all publicity is good publicity.

From a PR perspective this situation poses a two important questions.

1) Why would Channel 10 leave this element in?

Coles is a major sponsor of the program and to paint them as anything other than a reputable supermarket chain surely isn’t doing the relationship between Channel 10 and the supermarket any favors. It comes down to the client relationship.

In this particular instance leaving in the element of out-of-date filo was way of explanation towards why the two contestants faced elimination. However it does nothing for the consumers confidence in Coles.

Consumers must be wondering this morning;

2) If this particular Coles store is still selling food past its use-by date – is my local Coles following suit?

At time of publishing this blog, there was no statement from Coles regarding the incident on their website. Coles should have issued a statement reinforcing the importance of customer health and safety and that all measures were being taken to investigate why this store was selling out of date product.

Issues management can lessen the impact of any issue if managed correctly.

Before your business faces an issue, talk to the Pursuit Communications team, we’ll make sure your business rises to the occasion.

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