Friday, 17 April 2009

Dominos feels the force of the social web

In case you have not read about this already (if you are on Twitter it is almost impossible not to have stumbled across the story), Dominos US President Patrick Doyle has taken the unprecedented step of releasing a YouTube video to tackle the growing malaise caused by Dominos employees filming themselves doing unspeakable things to food and then (allegedly) serving it to customers.

The employees in question released a video on YouTube of them, amongst other things, putting cheese up their nose and then putting it in sandwiches. Now that is not the smartest move; every naughty schoolboy knows that if you are going to misbehave, you don’t advertise it globally! Unsurprisingly various consumer groups and outraged online viewers escalated this issue until Dominos had no choice but to respond. Unfortunately the original video can't be accessed as the employees in question have had it suspended due to forthcoming legal action being taken against them by Dominos. Oh dear, bet they never though that would happen!

You can find the video response from Patrick Doyle

Now there is an explosion of commentary, debate and abuse floating around the web. Bloggers have gone crazy (yep I'm firmly on the bandwagon!) and there are comments galore. There are even discussion threads where people are laying in to each other over their responses to the incident. Crazy people out there. For an example of a blog on this subject check out New York News.

If you want further evidence of how much content this is spawning and how excited the online world has become so quickly, got to Twitterfall and type in "Dominos" as a custom search - watch the tweets rise & rise!

This is a great example of the power of the social web - once something becomes public domain, you have no control over what happens to it. The community decides whether they want to share, embrace, condone or vilify. It has a direct impact on brand reputation, so every contact with social networks must be well thought through, well intentioned and effectively monitored.

So what do you think? Was the response the right decision, was it too big brother? Did Dominos have any other choice given the potential brand damage of sitting on the fence? Do you think Dominos has come out of this with positive PR?

Please let me know your comments.

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