Domino’s Discovers The Danger Of A New Media Vacuum

Apr 16th, 2009 | By | Category: Internet TV, Strange, Streaming Video, Video
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Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve probably heard about Domino’s employees Kristy Hammonds and Michael Setze’s videotaped antics in the Domino’s Pizza kitchen – putting boogers on sandwiches, sticking cheese up their noses and wiping their behinds with the sponges that they use to clean up with.

Domino’s quickly had the videos removed from YouTube, fired the employees and posted an official video response (below).

Nevertheless, the company is quickly discovering the danger of your brand having a new media vacuum: when something comes out that show your company in a bad light, it’s going to explode to fill the vacuum.

Domino’s New Media/Social Media Disaster

For Domino’s, the situation is a new media/social media disaster.

PR 2.0′s Brian Solis has already coined it The Domino’s Effect: “Domino’s brand cultivated over 49 years…damaged in 30 minutes or less.”

Search for Dominos on Google and Disgusting Dominos People is one of the top results, along with Domino’s nightmare holds lessons for marketers‎ & Dominos Pizza defends reputation on Twitter.

Worse, Domino’s wasn’t even aware of conversations that were affecting its reputation. While hundreds of thousands of people were seeing one of the Tweets about the Disgusting Dominos People, Dominos didn’t even have a Twitter account.

Domino’s created an account @dpzinfo on Wednesday, but the company is late to the game and has a paltry number of followers. As a result, negative messages about the company are defining its image within social media.

The company’s video response isn’t much better than their Twitter response.

Patrick Doyle, President, Domino’s U.S.A., personally handles responding to the Disgusting Dominos People video.

But you can tell from the video that Doyle’s not comfortable with the role. He doesn’t address the viewer directly, looking off to his left as if he’s reading from a script:

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What could Domino’s have done differently?

Domino’s, analysts and other companies will be talking about this for years.

But this is clear: as people’s attention moves away from traditional media to new media, companies that leave a vacuum for their brand in new media and social media are setting themselves up for disaster.

What do you think? Are new media and social media now too important for companies to ignore?

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