Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Another Social Media Fail

As social media develops an almost 'magical' aura in the communication industry, and as it grows in scope and execution, there will inevitably be some blunders along the way. In fact, I suspect that going forward one could create an entire blog out of social media failures.

Enter the Domino's promotion for their new boneless chicken. They invited consumers, right on their delivery box, to tweet their thoughts about the new chicken with a specific hashtag #DPZChicken.

A great idea, upon first glance. Get people talking and sharing their thoughts about the new product. Except that there is just one problem. People are talking and sharing their negative comments as much (if not more) than their positive ones.

A quick search on Twitter of the hashtag shows that many people don't like the product. To my cursory glance, it was well over half. To add salt to their own wounds, Domino's website features a live feed of what people are tweeting with their hashtag - good or bad.

So what is the lesson here? It's that the 'magic' of social media lies in the ability to start, foster and engage in discussions about your brand and your products at a grassroots level. Unfortunately, it's not magical enough to make food taste better.


  1. Perhaps a good idea would have been for Domino's to do a market survey first... and if it succeeded, then proceed with 'tweeting' etc. Do companies even do market surveys anymore??

  2. I personally believe that someone is more likely to post something negative than positive unless you're a rock-star at what you do. If you're a rock-star, negative posts will disappear and anything else will bring you business.

    Be a rock-star.

  3. Steve, great post but I think I actually disagree on this one. I think this is a wing recipe fail but a social media home run. That simple hash tag could save Domino's possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising revenue trying to market a product that people don't like.

    Also, it gives them a chance to continue their "100% transparency" campaign by saying, "we messed up, we DIDN'T get it right, we'll make it right". Whether they actually do that or not is another story.

    So yes, it is negative publicity, but being honest and open is part of the new Domino's which is refreshing. Plus, they get instant, priceless feedback on whether their new product is a dud or a champ.

  4. Interesting post Steve. I agree with Greg, and disagree with "Anonymous".
    Platforms like Ebay and Yelp have displayed that people do not lean more towards negative comments but more towards postive comments.
    To add to Greg's point, if Domino's is interested in engaging online with their customers, this is a winning campaign, if they just wanted to sell pizza's this is a #fail.
    Domino's is still streaming the negative comments - I think that shows honesty from a large brand, I think they just went up a few notches on the credibility scale.
    I am thinking they will be changing or cancelling this product from the feedback they are getting. They are giving their customers a voice, hopefully they are listening well.

  5. I hadn't heard of this promotion yet.

    But one thing that comes to mind is that social media is a magnifier - for good or bad.

    If you're going play in the social media world, you should make sure everything is order. Unless they want to do as SBK suggest and engage with consumers. But if they are using social media to engage, they better be ready to respond.

    I read a great post on Social Media Examiner (http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-to-create-a-social-media-marketing-strategy/) that shares an example of a store using social media to solicit feedback - they then acted on the feedback and made adjustments.

    Maybe Dominos should use this as an opportunity to improve their product and really make it a winning experience.

  6. Welcome to social media. It's just that. Social. Not some canned response formulated by formulaic people at an ad agency. You can't control it. People can use buzzwords all they like and try to be 'hip' to social media but they just don't get it. And never will. Where there is a will, there's no way.