Posted by: David Kiley on April 15, 2009
Domino’s Pizza is taking its turn in any company’s worst nightmare. The video below, made by three Domino’s employees, was climbing to one million views on www.youtube.com.
The video shows workers talking about all the mischief they create in the kitchen with the ingredients for sandwiches and pizzas. In one scene, a worker is seen putting an ingredient up his nose and then on a patron’s sandwich.
The above video is a newsreport. Youtube.com previously had the uncut, original video made by the disgruntled employees, but Domino’s apparently succeeded in getting the site to take the video down. So much for free speech.
However, some people who had maade copies are putting it up faster than youtube.com can take them down. Try this onee for the uncut version.
This debacle for Domino’s comes 15 months after Taco Bell had to endure the fallout from an Internet video showing rats in the kitchen of a New York City Taco Bell, as well as an outbreak of sick diners as a result of e-coli traced to a lettuce vendor.
“The opportunities and freedom of the internet is wonderful,” the statement reads. “But it also comes with the risk of anyone with a camera and an internet link to cause a lot of damage, as in this case, where a couple of individuals suddenly overshadow the hard work performed by the 125,000 men and women working for Domino’s across the nation and in 60 countries around the world.” The statement apologizes for the former employees’ actions and thanks consumers for their continued support.
Domino’s issued a statement saying that the employees were tracked down, fired and had warrants for their arrest sworn out. Beyond that, the company doesn’t want to do much talking. This is a playbook run by Johnson & Johnson 25 years ago. After the company was victimized by a tampering with Tylenol capsules that resulted in TK, the company would refuse to give out basic details of the event for years after. If a reporter called the company asking to verify dates and facts of the event, the communications office of J&J would stonewall—the idea being that if they didn’t cooperate, maybe the reporter wouldn’t write anything.
As first reported by Ad Age, the video has taken at least a temporary toll on quality and buzz ratings of Domino’s as measured by BrandIndex. Buzz fell from 22.5 points last Friday to 13.6 yesterday. Domino’s quality ratings fell from 5 on Monday to minus 2.8 yesterday. Zeta Interactive’s measurements show Domino’s buzz ratings have been overwhelmingly positive, at about 81%. As a result of Monday night’s video release, however, the perception is now 64% negative.
One of Domino’s responses is to use Twitter to try and reverse the trend. Using the handle, “dpzinfo,” the brand is using the opportunity to promote positive coverage, thank consumers for kind words and “retweet,” or resend, tweets from other users supporting the brand.
While the ubiquity of video-cameras and social networking and video posting sites like www.youtube.com lays any company open for this kind of mischief, the Domino’s video also reinforces what many anti fast-food consumers believe about such chains; that they actually have very little control over what happens in their kitchens, which are largely manned by low-income, low-education, largely unmotivated transient workers.
Of course, the same can be said of kitchens of fancier fine dining restaurants (Ever see Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares?). But the psychology of the consumers and price/value economics dictates that consumers are of the mind that owner operators of independently owned restaurants are keeping closer tabs on their kitchen staff.
At bottom, though, the video backs up the idea of packing your own lunch.
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News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.