How to respond to a President’s statement Article icon


As media statements go, it was a doozy!

‘Due to recent speculation and social media activity, RB (the makers of Lysol and Dettol) has been asked whether internal administration of disinfectants may be appropriate for investigation or use as a treatment for coronavirus... 

‘As a global leader in health and hygiene products, we must be clear that under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route).’

I know it says ‘recent speculation’ but RB is just being polite. I’m guessing what they really wanted to say was: ‘Following the jaw-droppingly stupid comments by Donald Trump, who for reasons best known to 62,984,828 American voters is now their President...’ Perhaps legal got involved?

Of course, I’m not saying Trump didn’t do any research before he made his suggestion, but if he’d only checked out RB’s website first, the company has produced a short film advising eight steps to prevent the virus spreading. They range from cleaning your hands regularly to avoiding undercooked or raw meat products. There’s no mention of guzzling down Dettol, which I’m sure they’d have added if it was a useful step.

Zoflora also put out a similar warning on Twitter, which they really didn’t need to do. We only use Zoflora where and when Mrs Hinch tells us, and our cleaning guru certainly hasn’t been telling us to drink it - not even the Tropical Twist variety, which sounds like it is just crying out for a few ice cubes and a paper umbrella. 

If I was RB now, I’d look closely at my PR agencies. Let’s be honest, the in-house team looks to them for an external perspective, to highlight any potential issues lurking on the horizon. If they hadn’t raised the possibility that the ‘Leader of the Free World’ might one day suggest injecting disinfectant to tackle the Coronavirus, then frankly what are they being paid the big bucks for?