Magformers LLC and Amazon: Dealing with Counterfeit Magnetic Toys
After a child was seriously injured by a toy that was alleged on social media to be one of Magformers' products, Chris Tidwell, CEO of the company, had to determine the best way to deal with the crisis. Magformers' signature products were sets of shaped plastic pieces with strong cylindrical magnets embedded in the edges that allowed children to build things. Beck White, a 4-year-old, ingested 13 magnets from a copycat product sold by IMDEN on Amazon's website. He needed surgery to remove parts of his colon, intestine, and appendix. On December 27, 2018, Beck's mother, Jennifer, posted a warning about the danger of magnetic toys to other parents on Facebook. The post generated a social media firestorm in which Magformers was incorrectly identified as the toy at fault. At the close of the case, Chris Tidwell faced two problems. First, Tidwell needed to figure out how to restore the brand reputation of Magformers in the aftermath of the Beck White incident. Second, he needed to figure out how to address inferior and unsafe products that were sold on Amazon.