Adolph Coors Company Case Study please answer the five questions over the Adolph Coors case that begins on page 171 of your textbook. The questions are on page 178. If you use outside resources to answer your questions, please be sure to cite properly using either MLA or APA guidelines. Each question is worth 20 points.Please include the questions in your case study paper. All papers should be at minimum, two full pages and no more than four pages. Use Times New Roman, 12 point, and single space paragraphs. 172 Chapter Six
the best defense would be a no-comment”
approach. But with no comment from Coors,
anything organized labor was willing to say on
camera would go uncontested.
HISTORY OF THE ADOLPH
The Coors brewery was established in 1880
by Adolph Coors, a Prussian-born immigrant
who came to the United States in 1868. Having
trained as an apprentice in a Prussian brewery,
22-year-old Adolph Coors became a foreman at
the Stenger Brewery in Naperville, Illinois, in
late 1869. By 1872, Coors owned his own bot-
tling company in Denver, Colorado. With his
knowledge of brewing beer and
assistance of I
Media Relations 171
Adolph Coors Company
Shirley Richard returned from lunch one April
afternoon in 1982 and found a message on her
desk that Allan Maraynes from CBS had phoned
while she was out. God, what’s this?” was all she
could say as she picked up the phone to discuss the
call with her boss, John McCarty, Vice President
for Corporate Public Affairs. In her second year
as Head of Corporate Communication for what
was then the nation’s fifth-largest brewer, Richard
was well aware of the Adolph Coors Company’s
declining popularity-a decline that she partially
blamed on an ongoing conflict with organized
labor. But the conflict was hardly breaking news,
and she was almost afraid to ask why CBS was
interested in the company.
Richard found out from her boss that
Maraynes was a producer for the network’s news
program 60 Minutes.” Reporter Mike Wallace
had already phoned McCarty to announce plans
for a 60 Minutes report about the company.
Program executives at CBS were aware of accu-
sations of unfair employment practices that the
AFL-CIO had raised against Coors and wanted
to investigate the five-year battle between the
brewery and organized labor.
Once McCarty explained the message from
Maraynes, Shirley Richard sank into her chair.
She had spent the last year working hard to
understand organized labor and its nationwide
boycott of Coors beer, and she was convinced
that the company was being treated unfairly.
She believed the union represented only a small
subset of Coors’s otherwise satisfied workforce.
But Richard also doubted whether the facts
could speak for themselves and was wary of
the AFL-CIO’s ability to win over the media.
She was well aware of Mike Wallace’s reputa-
tion for shrewd investigative reporting
On the other hand, “60 Minutes” was consid-
ered by many corporations as anti-big-business,
and Richard had no idea how corporate officials
would respond under the pressure of lights, cam-
era, and the reporter’s grilling questions. McCarty
and Richard met with the two Coors brothers
to discuss the network’s proposal and to deter-
mine whether producer Maraynes should even
be allowed to visit the Coors facility. Company
President Joseph (Joe”) Coors and Chairman
William (Bill”) Coors were skeptical of the pros-
pect of airing the company’s dirty laundry on
national television. But McCarty was interested
in the opportunity for Coors to come out into
the public spotlight. Richard knew that granting
interviews with Wallace and permission to film
the Coors plant came with enormous risk.
Richard was frustrated by growing support
for the boycott, and her own strategies to deal with
the problem had been unsuccessful. She believed
the interview with CBS might only exacerbate an
already difficult situation. Her own public rela-
tions effort had been an attempt to portray the
circumstances as she believed them to be: good
management harassed by disgruntled labor
nizers. She was convinced that her job was not an
effort to cover up Coors’s employment practices.
Richard debated how the company should
handle the proposal from CBS. Any decisions
about approaching “60 Minutes” also would
have to be approved by the Coors broth-
ers. Richard felt uncertain about how much
control she would ultimately have over the
communications strategy. Joe Coors, an ardent
conservative and defender of private enter-
prise, would undoubtedly resist an open-door
policy with the network. At the same time,
Richard wondered if she should attempt to
convince the management of this traditionally
closed company to open itself to the scrutiny
of a “60 Minutes” investigation or whether
Source: This case was prepared by Professor Paul A. Argenti, Tuck
School of Business at Dartmouth. © 2001 Trustees of Dartmouth
College. All rights reserved.
be able to effectively present the facts supporting
Coors’s position? The national broadcast would
reach millions of beer drinkers, and Richard
knew that the 60 Minutes” report could either
make or break the future success of Coors beer.
1. What problems should Richard focus on?
2. What kind of research should she do?
3. What would her communication objective
be if Coors agreed to the interview? If the
brothers did not do the interview?
4. Should Shirley Richard encourage or
discourage the Coors brothers to go on
5. What suggestions would you have for
improving media relations at Coors?
Source: This case was researched and written by Professor Paul A.
Argenti in 1985 and revised in 1994, 1998, 2002, and 2005.
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