Mengniu: Not so innocent anymore
Mengniu can’t seem to catch a break: first there was that whole melamine scare two years ago and now police are investigating its involvement in spreading false rumors that its competitors’ products made babies to grow breasts.
According to a statement from the company, four people have been detained, including the director of Mengniu’s children dairy products, An Yong, who hired the public relations company responsible for plotting the dirty tactics.
The three other people arrested are all from their PR company, BossePR. Mengniu is now trying to distance itself as much as possible from BossePR, despite having worked with their people quite considerably to improve appearances since the melamine scandal of two years ago.
The smear campaign against the Yili Group and Synutra International started online this summer and included plans as extensive as actually hiring people to pose as parents and pregnant women.
With just one post on the Internet receiving more than 200,000 clicks, the attacks exploded into a major story that led the Ministry of Health to initiate an investigation into Synutra’s infant milk powder. Not surprisingly, the government did not turn up anything suspicious, and Synutra received clearance to continue selling their products.
Another embarrassment for Mengniu as the dairy company struggles to rebuild an increasingly tarnished brand. Perhaps a return to their old PR strategy of backing singing competition shows would work better than their more recent sinister methods.