PR Fail: Star-Kist Tuna Gaffe is Some Fish Tale

Over two years ago the law firm of Bursor and Fisher brought a class-action lawsuit against Star-Kist Tuna. They claimed the company failed to include the required amounts of product in their 5 oz. cans of chunk light tuna and white albacore tuna. Depending on which type, Federal law requires there be either 2.84 oz. of tuna or 3.23 oz. of tuna in 5 oz. cans. This affects purchases of the cans made from February 19, 2009, through October 31, 2014.

Without admitting to any wrongdoing, Star-Kist agreed to a settlement of the case. Many who bought the products will be receiving notice about their portion of the settlement, but if you fit the category, you can go to tunalawsuit to make a claim. You won’t need a receipt, but you will need to swear that you made the purchase(s). Since the timeframe covers more than five years, it is likely many households in the U.S. made at least one purchase of these cans.

Now, here’s the PR kicker to this story. The settlement deal that Star-Kist is offering to qualified recipients gives them the choice of either $25 in cash or $50 in tuna. What? Can’t you just see the Star-Kist STAR turning on over Charlie the Tuna’s head with this brilliant bit of PR strategy. The suit is about not having enough Tuna, so Star-Kist offers cash or MORE tuna.

If you listen really close, you might even be able to hear good ol’ Charlie saying “Get good taste” pick the tuna.
For Star-Kist whichever you choose is probably about the same on their balance sheets, but giving consumers the choice to get something more for their effort is a great idea. People always like to choose. However, we are certain of one thing, the Bursor and Fisher’s firm will definitely be going for the cash on their $4 million slice of tuna.

Ronn Torossian is the CEO of NYC based Public Relations Company 5WPR. 5W PR has offices in New York, Colorado and California.