The Great Avocado Shortage of 2019: A lesson in rapid media response

The Super Bowl, the most watched program in America, is best known for its commercial debuts, halftime performances, and of course, viewing parties stocked with fan favorite foods like guacamole. Though the New England Patriots have become a constant presence on game day, appearing in three of the last four Super Bowls, some say the snacks for game day may not look the same as years prior. Reports have been circulating that guacamole may be missing this year. But, why?

Well, Mexico is responsible for almost 80 percent of the U.S. avocado market, and on average they provide us with nearly two billion avocados annually. Yet this year, due to a fuel shortage, the potassium-packed fruits may not make it to the shelves in time for kickoff. This fuel shortage is apparently affecting six Mexican states, one being Michoacán – the country’s largest producer of avocados.

In light of this troubling situation, the avocado growers have acted swiftly to counter this fast-developing media narrative. Alvaro Luque, president of Avocados from Mexico, has overseen a successful media relations strategy to reassure the public that their favorite green fruit will be available in abundance come game time.

While we hold our collective breaths to see if Luque’s assurances prove accurate, PR professionals can learn a few lessons from his approach that can be applied to any communications crisis:

  • Respond rapidly – Control the narrative and respond to quickly misleading media stories.
  • Get the facts – Consider the audience’s position and what information they really need to know. Make only one to two main points that people can remember easily.
  • Set the record straight – Relay the facts as they are, and always keep a positive demeanor. Send out press releases to newswire services that reach large audiences.
  • Be well prepared – Decide in advance what key points you want to make.
  • Promote your brand – Mention your brand name and encourage people to visit your website for more information.

In the world of PR, it is imperative to be prepared, respond quickly, and send out positive messages. Your brand will thank you. Now, go eat some guac!

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