April 17, 2009

The Dominos Pizza Effect

In case you missed the story: Two Dominos Pizza employees in N. Carolina decided to claim their "15 minutes of fame" (according to the famous aphorism of Andy Warhol) inspired obviously by JackAss. They filmed a few videos showing them doing some pretty disgusting things in the Dominos kitchen while preparing products meant for customers. The films were quickly spotted by the blog Good As You, that published the story and alerted Dominos management. In the web page of the blog you can follow the line of the events including the exchange of emails between the Communication executive of Dominos Tim McIntyre and the blog and the video statement of the Dominos President P. Doyle apologizing to the customers for the incident and announcing the actions taken against the two employees (they were fired and face prosecution for damaging the brand). A written statement of Kristi, one of the two involved in the incident, posted yesterday explaining that the video was just a prank is not anymore in the site. As it is usual in these cases other blogs and online news sites published details of the story. In the site of the blog The Consumerist and many other blogs you can follow the colorful comments of the blog readers on the case. The blog swarm of this case is already about 35.000 blog and Twitter references in Google Blog Search! From the original videos posted only one is still on YouTube, the most disturbing ones were removed early on from the site.
Hopefully the damage control measures taken by Dominos management will put an end to this story and prevent it from reaching the mass media. The fact that the people behing Good As You warned the company is a signal of citizen responsibility and indicative of the positive role blogs can play.

Two remarks from my perspective:
1. This incident outlines once more how important is for businesses to "Listen" to what people (customers, competitors or personnel) say, write or in any other way communicate online about their firms, brands, products or people. This is what I call the Passive Way of using the Social Media as part of the marketing strategy in the model describing ways Web 2.0 applications can be used as marketing tools.
2. The incident once more underlines the need to draft company guidelines of employee usage of Social Media as means of personal expression. Considering the increasing number of people seeking fame online I think that lack of organizational guidelines spells problems for companies that see their products and brands suffering because of the irresponsible behavior of some of their employees. It spells also problems to many idiots who cannot think of the consequences of their actions putting themselves and their employers in trouble.