By Paul Mitchell

Children and alcohol: Fun for the whole family.

A lot has been discussed about branding and its various components (brand equity, brand recognition, et al) but the importance is really about market perception and what people immediately think about when they hear your name, see your logo or remember the experience they had with your product or service. It is at the core of marketing and in building long-term relationships with your clients.

There was an article in the Wall Street Journal recently about the problems the police have been experiencing at Chuck E. Cheese’s restaurants across the United States. As a case study in both crisis communication and the need to protect your brand, their recent experience is invaluable (and hilarious). For in no other segment than with family restaurants and the promise to families and children of good –natured, wholesome fun, could things get any worse...

According to the article – and please do yourself the favour of following the link to the original page – Chuck E. Cheese’s, a restaurant chain created by the Atari video game founder to provide a safe and fun place for children to play, has become one of the largest requesters for police response. Even more than biker bars in adjoining areas.

Aside from bad parenting, the reasons for police assistance include reports of pistols, alcohol abuse, riots and police having to break up fights of more than 85 people. The article cites the fact that over 70% of locations serve alcohol. Children and booze: a dangerous combination! This year alone is proving to be a banner year. One can only imagine the damage being done to all the efforts that have gone into building a once successful brand.

See the original article for full police reports.