Stepping in to manage a public health issue

KEY information
completed 2009


Resilient Ready Swine Flu Hero

We led a strategy to manage intense media scrutiny


In 2009 a McDonald’s outlet was temporarily closed in Melbourne’s northern suburbs after an outbreak of Swine Flu. The issue gathered speed as Swine Flu cases climbed locally, requiring McDonald’s to get on the front foot with the growing public health issue and reassure its customers.

We were asked to lead the national McDonald’s crisis response outside of their in-house team, formulate a strategy, and provide additional journalist-facing support to meet the upswing in media interest.

Our approach

We worked closely with the McDonald’s head office team and VicHealth to ensure that health precautions taken by the restaurant chain were communicated in a responsible and positive way.

We focused on timely and transparent key messaging and directly handled journalists’ enquiries to ensure a strong and consistent response.

Renae and her team provided expert support when this unknown crisis unexpectedly arrived in Australia.

Kristene Reynolds
Former Director of Corporate Communications at McDonald’s Australia

A leadership approach when responding to crisis


We supported the McDonald’s leadership team in communicating the precautionary approach taken by McDonald’s for its northern suburbs restaurant, which was picked up and run by metropolitan media outlets.

Happy to sit in a food court surrounded by national media, we strategically responded to incoming requests in a timely and proactive manner. This included advising McDonald’s to take a leadership approach when waiting for a World Health Organisation response.

All coverage featured our key messages, which positioned McDonald’s as a responsible company that always puts the health and wellbeing of its customers first.