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Toxic Mistakes in Keurig Dr. Pepper  Peñafiel’s Crisis Management

Scandals spread like wildfire. They star with a spark that gets viralized by social networks to exploit on TV and the Radio, as well as the written press.

On April 18 the the United States’ NGO, Consumer Reports, released a document stating that Peñafiel and other 5 brands of mineral water have arsenic levels harmful to human health.

Keurig Dr. Pepper, owner of the old Mexican brand, examined its mineral water at the request of the organization and found levels of 17 parts of arsenic per billion (ppt), said the report.

As the legal allowance is up to 10 ppb, the company suspended production for two weeks at the Mexican plant that supplies the US market, in order to improve filtration procedures and reduce arsenic levels.

Keurig Dr. Pepper took action and limited its communication to Consumer Reports, in order to avoid spreading harmful information beyond.

However, the NGO published a tweet with the link to its report which turned to be a match igniting a conversation that reached traditional media, with the company absent to make a follow-up and defend itself in each media outlet publishing the report.

The Mexican media and the US press in Spanish didn’t care about the company stopping it’s mineral water production: They published headlines like “Peñafiel water produced in Mexico has high levels of arsenic, admits the company”,“Peñafiel already accepted that its mineral water has arsenic”, and “Besides Peñafiel, these Mexican products slowly kill consumers”.

This media published that Consumer Reports considered that more than 3 ppb of arsenic in a product is already harmful to the human health, that the Mexican mineral water should be retired of the market and the US authorities had seized Peñafiel’s product in 2014 besides having issued an alert.

By being absent in digital and traditional media, Keurig Dr. Pepper let the media to damage Peñafiel’s reputation for at least 11 days, during which the company could disseminate and expand a part of the response he gave to Consumer Reports, which remained all this time out of reach of the public.

Katie Gilroy, spokeswoman for the company said that “independent experts with whom we have been working have indicated that there is no risk to the health of consumers with current levels” of arsenic.

However, it was not until 29 April that Peñafiel published in its Mexican site an official vague innocuous position on the scandal justifying that “arsenic is present in air, soil and other everyday consumer products”.

The company added that the figure of 17 ppb responds to “slight variations of mineral water” below the permissible limits for simple and flavored water, but said no word on the US site or on the alert.

With no comprehensive information and a press conference to counteract damaging information, the company will see its mineral water sales to fall hand in hand with its reputation. The saying of no offense committed later made in Mexico by the Federal Consumer Procurator’s Office will not be enough.


[For our fourth and fifth brief, we are exploring the fragrance industry. Knowing how and why brands create innovative fragrances and how to connect with the consumer. Over easter, we were asked to construct a fragrance booklet with research about the market, innovation and storytelling within the industry. A similarity was noticed when researching into the market: the audience was largely female, wanting niche and independent scents in aesthetic, minimal packaging]

I have identified insights, primary research and potential gaps in the market for these categories to be placed. The first is female fragrance. 

Female Fragrance is challenging the traditional marketing with a new wave of feminism, with a growing female workforce adopting a host of new brands continuing to surge through the industry. A trend noted (Persistence Market Research, 2016-2024) is attractive packaging and bottles appeal to the female consumer, suggesting an area for development in the industry. Nowadays, women observed often purchase more than one fragrance at a time. This relates to using different fragrances to suit different occasions. Manufacturers are also considering travel-friendly products in the form of sprays/roller balls suited for on-the-go use made from natural, environmentally clean materials. 

The second is niche fragrances. With expansion of the independent sector, fragrances are becoming more original and expensive. They are handcrafted and highly customised products obtaining a unique appearence for consumers who respond to authenticity and meaning within their scent. Consumers are growing tired of monotony which allows niche brands to develop and present product propositions to Gen Z. An issue facing the fragrance industry is celebrity endorsement doesn’t impress (Daziel & Pow). This has heightened since Instagram inflated the millennial generation, driving an aesthetic and personalised concept into the perfume industry. Niche fragrances are known for their artisanal scents, natural ingredients and higher-quality of investments making them gain a large consumer market. 

The third, simplicitySimplicity is a theme found amongst the fragrance market. Brands are releasing organic and basic scents which are reflected through their marketing strategies and packaging. This has developed from the idea of genderless fragrance, making a scent which carries an experience or emotion. Consumers are also considering brands that support a cause or have a sense of purpose because too many fragrance brands are offering uninspiring product (Daziel & Pow). Simplicity allows them to focus on quality over quantity. 




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Yesterday I walked to the store and needed some sweets. I grabbed a pack of M&Ms  and when the cashier told me it cost $2 I almost lost my lid. I thought to myself “My mans how did this small pack of M&Ms cost two bones”? I paid the $2 and dipped.

Upon my exit, I told myself “welp that what you can do when you own the place. You set the price to whatever the hell you want”. People can complain about prices all day but there is nothing one can really say if they’re not the owner. 

People have the choice of paying or not paying. Owners will always have the people that will pay the price they set regardless, so your complaining means little to nothing to them.

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Its like with my brand (WELÇOME©: HAND DRAW GRAPHICS), people are so used to black creators pricing everything for $20 it was an extreme shock when I came out the gate charging $149.99. Many people ridiculed me and some were vocal In how they wouldn’t dare pay that much.

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But as the owner I can set the price to whatever I want and someone will buy it. Bottom line, if you want to see a difference move from consumer to owner and you can make logistics and quality control decisions till your face turn blue.