Abbott Nutrition selected SJ Public Relations to communicate a Similac product recall and reestablish consumer confidence.


Abbott Nutrition recalled Similac brand infant formulas distributed in U.S., Puerto Rico, Guam and several Caribbean nations because of possible beetle insect contamination.

Similac’s purchasers are mainly woman from a variety of cultural backgrounds with Hispanic babies representing over 25% of Similac’s users.

SJPR was called in to assess the situation and devise a plan to inform the Spanish speaking publics about the possible contamination and Abbott’s initiatives to rectify the situation.

General market media had already picked up the story and social media blast were re-posting the news. However, Hispanic media outlets provided little coverage of the crisis.


SJPR Positioned Abbott proactively and responsively to a key, valued audience: Hispanics in the top 20 tier markets in the U.S. and in the predominantly Spanish-speaking nations as a company that understands the severity of the recall and also understands that parents expect to nourish their children with only the high quality product.

We reassured our consumers that the Similac brand is a trusted infant formula source and collaborated closely with Abbott and the lead PR agency on fundamental components on how to address crisis needs and create an increased sense of favorability for Abbott Nutrition’s Similac brand.

SJPR developed a comprehensive public relations outreach efforts and a community relations grassroots campaign.

Message Development / Media Materials: Develop transculturated product offerings and safety fact sheets to help eliminate any frustration consumers have moving forward.

Develop Spanish Q&A samples that aligned with Similac messaging and solutions to the crisis situation and prepared additional Q&A sheets to leverage additional talking points for interviews.

Media Outreach: We targeted health reporters and editors from major Hispanic outlets (online, broadcast and print) including bilingual media outlets and PRWire. Additional media audiences included public affairs producers and news directors from Hispanic TV outlets to leverage a bilingual spokesperson and position Abbott as a brand that is responsive to the Hispanic community and consumer.

Spokespeople: SJPR contracted a bilingual medical expert/dietician and positioned her as an infant formula spokesperson for all of Abbott’s media interviews.


SJPR helped reestablish overall consumer confidence through a very successful Public Relations and in-community grassroots efforts.

Post crisis, we initiated a program where Abbott customer service representatives visited super markets representing the Similac Brand among the largest distributors of the brand.

Our Similac Brand Ambassadors provided:

  • Free Coupon/Free Takeaway for the Consumer
  • Product Offerings/Safety Tips