Domino’s: the destructive power of user generated content

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A couple of employees of Domino’s put up a video on YouTube (no longer available for viewing), showing them ‘defacing’ its food. Apparently the video showed two youths identifying themselves as Kristy and Michael besmirching a pair of sub sandwiches. Michael inserts pieces of cheese into his nose and waves pieces of salami behind his backside. Both the salami and the cheese are placed on the sandwiches. The video went up to 760,000 views on YouTube and has forced the company to react.  Domino’s has already identified the outlet, shut it down and in the process of sanitizing it; their President apologized through a video and put it on YouTube. More about this PR disaster at AdAge including an article from Mark Wnek of Lowe. By the way, why does the official Domino’s response look so staged? I mean, reading from a tele-prompter? Comes across as insincere…

The incident brings alive the destructive power of the Internet. Two employees who were either ‘out to have some fun’ (morons!) or holding some grudge on their employer decide to pull this prank, without realizing the consequences. And it not only affects Domino’s brand imagery, it brings out the worst fears of food tampering across all fast food chains.  Good thing that Domino’s reacted fast but the recovery will take some time. Remember the trouble Cadbury went through in India after the bad press over its worm controversy in 2003? That was caused by print media coverage – imagine the impact in today’s UGC era?

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  1. I am amused … How far away is Mr. Wnek from reality? Food tampering is a painful reality, even the best restaurants do not serve food which is as clean as a homecooked meal. But at the risk of digressing, Mr.Wnek wants to call it a crime against working class? How? Isn’t serving high calorie, refined flour based food with questionable nutritive content itself a crime? Oh I forgot, if its served before 30 minutes, the company stands vindicated.

    • Gitanjali, great comment. As Chairman/Chief Creative Officer of Lowe, Mr. Wnek is far from the regular blokes who visit fast food joints. As one commenter said in that article, this is more about PR management than a crime against working class.

  2. Missed the Youtube clip. But I completely agree with Gitanjali. Not even the best of hotels & restaurants serve you clean food. I remember an incident which was naratted to me by my cousin who used to work for one of the leading star hotel in Chennai. Out of curiosity I asked him what they do with food left over in the buffet etc… he cooly told me that they would mix it up for the next lunch or dinner and serve it as a new dish…. probably the Domino’s employees were trying to play back reality… yes , Reality indeed bites

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