Domino’s Doesn’t Get It

If you haven’t been sleeping under a rock, you noticed the craziness that ensued due to a video posted on YouTube by some Domino’s Pizza employees. The video is taken down now, but you can find it if you search hard enough. In the video some employees pretended to put snot on food for customers. They’re in trouble now, and they deserve it for being so stupid. But it has also become a public relations nightmare for the company. This is just yet another example of how marketers and public relations people simply don’t understand the new media world.

Here’s a quote from the New York Times article that I found most interesting.

“We got blindsided by two idiots with a video camera and an awful idea,” said a Domino’s spokesman, Tim McIntyre, who added that the company was preparing a civil lawsuit. “Even people who’ve been with us as loyal customers for 10, 15, 20 years, people are second-guessing their relationship with Domino’s, and that’s not fair.”

Not fair, eh? Well, it’s the new reality, so deal with it. For decades the media has been completely controlled in a top-down fashion. Big media like newspapers, television, and radio where the only way to get a message out to a lot of people. Thus, other companies and advertisers were able to manage people’s perceptions of brands.

Lexus is luxurious, Ford is tough, but why? They’re just brands. Ford is nothing more than a logo. The meaning behind that logo is completely artificial. It’s simply because of a top-down media that the Ford company was able to completely control use of that name and logo in the media that they were also able to completely control which emotions people associated with it.

Thanks to the Internet, that is gone now. Brands are now controlled by the people, not the companies that are associated with them. Reality will slowly take hold, and small negatives will outweigh all the positives. There’s a reason that one booger video makes a huge stir, and no number of  “Domino’s is yummy” videos will ever get any attention.

Is it really unfair? If your ethical and moral structure is built upon the realities of the old world, then it is not hard to see why it’s unfair. If you adapt your ideas of right and wrong to accept the realities of modern technology and a rapidly changing society, then this is no big deal.

My suggestion to companies out there who want to manage their brands, like the old days, is to concentrate on managing your products. Nobody will make yourcompanysucks.com if they love your products. Learn from Apple. If people love your products so much they will line up in advance, then some negativity doesn’ t really matter. Nobody ever waited in line a day in advance for a Domino’s pizza.

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