The Houston Business Journal recently covered the story of the Bumbo Baby Seat recall. DPK Public Relations guided the company's response through the recal process in the U.S. and Canada, including negotiations with the Consumer Product Safety Commission and Health Canada, the deployment of a Web site ( devoted to getting the word out and the development of an instructional video. The focus was on protecting the safety of children whose parents may unknowingly be putting them at risk of a fall.

Some families had been placing the seats on raised surfaces, which is not advisable since the seats have no restraints. When word spread about the recall thanks to a feature on Good Morning America, feedback from the community of Bumbo owners was swift and supportive. Bloggers jumped into the issue, arguing that companies should not be responsible for policing how a product is used.

The public relations effort helped save the brand by illustrating that the Bumbo Seats, when used as intended and according to the warnings and instructions, are safe. To prevent any misunderstanding, we made new warning stickers and instructions available for current Bumbo owners. And temporarily took the product off the market to update the warning stamp and improve the packaging to remove any words or images that could be misinterpreted.

Here's what the Houston Business Journal reported:

Bumbo and its distributors...acted quickly to salvage the seat's reputation and their own bottom lines.

In Wartburg's case, the company enlisted the services of Houston public relations agency DPK Public Relations.

One of DPK's tasks, says agency chief Dan Keeney, was to help consumers understand that the product itself wasn't recalled, but that the warnings simply needed to be made more clear and visible.

In addition, Bumbo has covered up a photo on the product box that some consumers found misleading in which three babies were seated in the Bumbo Seats in front of a birthday cake and presents.

Meanwhile, Wartburg set up a toll-free number for consumers as well as a Bumbo information Web site.

The small company hired temporary workers to handle the influx of calls to the information line and to help update the warning, instructions and packaging and get the product back on the market.

(Mark) Buchanan says despite the halt in sales, Wartburg has not had to lay off any employees.

If you would like more information about DPK Public Relations' Crisis Planning, Response and Recovery Services, call 214-432-7556. Our crisis response services include the following:
  • Around-the-clock crisis readiness;
  • Situation assessment and short-term planning;
  • Message development;
  • Crisis-related media outreach and response;
  • Crisis-related outreach to lawmakers and regulators;
  • Development of media information materials;
  • Advocacy advertising;
  • Grass roots mobilization and third party activation;
  • Crisis-related research and analysis;
  • Medium- and long-range strategic planning to examine what damage has been done by the crisis and how to prevent similar crises, maximize turnaround and minimize sustained damage; and
  • Development and implementation of a communications program to help restore public confidence in the brand and/or corporate reputation.