by Ashley Thomas

In recent years, DiGiorno has been one of the most beloved brands on social media due to their campaign to build a humorous atmosphere with their followers. The rapport that they have with their followers, especially on Twitter, was something that other companies strived for. They even received massive praise for their hilarious live tweets during NBC’s telecast of The Sound of Music, staring Carrie Underwood. After their live tweeting spree, their popularity skyrocketed. Though what goes up must come down.

On September 8th, 2014 DiGiorno, the popular name brand pizza company, acted recklessly and tweeted, “#whyistayed You had pizza.” Many companies tweet using trending topics and popular hashtags but they did not think of the social implications of their tweet.

BxD4sM7IIAAvugFOn it’s own the tweet seems witty and harmless but the hashtag started after a video surfaced of, now former Baltimore Ravens running back, Ray Rice attacking his fiancé. Women that had previously been victims of abuse shared their experiences on Twitter with the hashtag to show support and solidarity for other victims of abuse.

DiGiorno has since removed the tweet and apologized but still the effects of their actions are apparent. While their goal was to stay current and retain their conversational rapport with their followers, it backfired. They tried too hard to stay current and connect with their followers and they didn’t focus on what was important: retaining their image. They were also so narrow minded that they did not check what the hashtag was actually about.

Mainstream media outlets quickly picked up the story and criticized DiGiorno for not only their insensitivity but also their lack of awareness of current events and the meaning behind the trending topic. Many outlets also called out DiGiorno’s campaign for their shameless self-promotion at the cost of important social issues.

This is not the first time a brand has misused a hashtag in an effort to further their humorous agenda. In 2011, the Entenmanns’ cookie company tweeted, “Who’s #notguilty about eating all the tasty treats they want?!” The hashtag in this case referred to the not guilty verdict in the sentencing of Casey Anthony.

DiGiorno’s misuse of social media is a social fail on multiple fronts, not only did they improperly use a popular hashtag but they offended millions by doing so. An apology was not enough for most of their followers. Luckily DiGiorno recognized this and issued personal apologizes to some of their followers who were criticizing their actions. Even with personal apologies, the incident was named one of the top social media fails of 2014 by INC.

Even though the company apologized they could not escape the wrath of the internet. As many know, the internet can be a cruel place where trolls are rampant. Users of Twitter flocked to mock the company making memes and humorous tweets such as, “It’s not domestic violence, it’s digiorno” and countless others.

All of this negative coverage on their brand could have easily been avoided if only DiGiorno’s social media team would have checked to see what the trending topic was in regards to before posting one of their so-called humorous comments.

This social media fail just goes to show that even a fun platform like Twitter needs to be taken seriously by popular brands. They need to plan tweets, check their grammar and look over what they could be implying to their followers because as everyone knows once it’s out there on the internet, you can never take it back.

References

Barbato, L. (2014, September 9). Retrieved by: http://www.bustle.com/articles/39138-digiorno-pizzas-whyistayed-tweet-is-not-how-you-respond-to-domestic-violence

Ciambriello, R. (2013, December 6). Retrieved from: http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/digiorno-pizza-live-tweeted-sound-music-and-it-was-glorious-154340

Griner, D. (2014, September 9). Retrieved from: http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/digiorno-really-really-sorry-about-its-tweet-accidentally-making-light-domestic-violence-159998

Iyengar, R. (2014, September 9). Retrieved from: http://time.com/3307109/twitter-ray-rice-domestic-violence-abuse-whyistayed-whyileft/

Mullins, J. DiGiorno (2014, September 9). Mistakenly Used the Domestic Abuse Twitter Campaign #WhyIStayed. Retrieved from: http://www.eonline.com/news/577433/digiorno-mistakenly-used-the-domestic-abuse-twitter-campaign-whyistayed-to-promote-their-pizza

Short, K. (2014, September 9). DiGiorno Interrupts Serious Conversation About Domestic Violence To Sell Pizza. Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/09/digiornos-pizza-whyistayed-tweet_n_5790504.html