Simulation game on crisis management in a global drinks corporation

“Sparkle up your life”, or: Pesticides in Spirit Up drinks?

Traces of pesticides have been found in samples of drinks produced by a multinational corporation. They stem from production plants in developing countries, but Spirit Up makes most of its revenue in rich industrial states in which even the tiniest suspicion of health risks will send the company’s shares crashing. Company management is meeting to consult on a strategy towards the media and the supervisory board. Meanwhile, NGOs are threatening further revelations.

As part of “Zukunftsbrücke – Chinese-German Young Professionals Campus” by the Mercator Program Center for International Affairs in Berlin, 30 young professionals from Germany and China gathered for a week of exchange on the social dimension of sustainable growth. planpolitik developed a simulation game especially for this programme, addressing the subject of corporate responsibility in a globalised economy. We chose a neutral fictional setting for the game, not least to avoid participants “preaching” to one another or playing the “blame game.”

The simulation game was an intense experience for the participants, after all, the managers of Spirit Up found themselves in a very uncomfortable position, stuck between a rock and a hard place, or, as it were, between the supervisory board on one hand and plenty of pressure from NOGs and the general public on the other. The difficulties of effective crisis management became very clear when the company’s rather reticent information policy was challenged by ever-new revelations from NGOs. At the end, the supervisory board pulled the emergency brake and sacked the management.

The conclusion of the event was marked by a very interesting discussion among the participants, in which they debated the responsibility of multinational companies as well as the differences between German and Chinese society regarding to the role of the media and the general public. One conclusion was that these days, companies in China need to worry about public pressure, too.

Facts + Figures

Target group

Young Professionals from Germany and China

  • Train crisis management strategies
  • Initiate discussion about the responsibility of multinational companies

Mercator Program Center for International Affairs (MPC)


6 h

Number of participants








  • Our event with the competent and friendly team of planpolitik as part of the ”Future bridge – Chinese-German Young Professional Campus” 2013 in Berlin was a great success. planpolitik lead the young professionals from Germany and China through the game with great sensitivity and humour, providing the participants with an opportunity to examine German-Chinese intercultural cooperation and problem solving in a creative and playful way. Highly recommended!

    Matthias Kaufmann | Senior Program Manager, Mercator Program Center for International Affairs (MPC) GmbH