Ohio University Strategic Social Media

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Category: Cody Ferguson

DiGiorno Mistakenly Advertised Pizza In a Hashtag About Domestic Violence

By: Cody Ferguson

The take-home pizza company, DiGiorno mistakenly tried to advertise their pizza with the trending #WhyIStayed hashtag in which was promoting domestic violence. Need I say more?

Trending hashtags and rising topics are a shoe-in for companies to be able to promote Digiornos tweettheir products or services to a large audience virtually free of charge. For example, remember #TheDress that wreaked havoc on the social media world, confusing users as to if the dress was blue or black? Many companies capitalized on that opportunity to join in on the conversation in ways that promoted their products. However, there is a time and place for that.

What Happened?

During an ongoing promotion to help raise awareness concerning victims of domestic violence, #WhyIStayed hashtag was trending via Twitter. Users would add the hashtag to verbally state why they decided to stay in an abusive relationship with their significant other. This user-generated campaign could be the result of the aftermath of the incident involving former NFL running back, Ray Rice who was caught violently beating his wife in a hotel elevator. During 24-hours after the incident, over 46,000 tweets were sent out using the #WhyIStayed hashtag. 

The Aftermath

As I stated previously, joining in on hashtag conversations can be a great opportunity for companies to extend their social reach. However, you must FIRST understand the context in which the hashtag represents. DiGiorno in this case, failed to do so in a big way. Just four minutes after their original tweet, the company tweeted an apology for Digiorno social media failtheir actions. My guess is that they most likely received a large inflow of replies from users venting their extreme frustration and offense.

According to Social Media Week, making light of violence is never acceptable, and neither is jumping into a trending hashtag without first understanding the context. While timeliness is important and sometimes critical, when it comes to social media, you can always afford to take a few minutes to gain an insight into the conversation. I mean come on, how hard is it to figure out the context of a trending hashtag?

These people are supposed to be professionals? I know many college students who are aspiring to become social media managers who would never think about making a mistake like that. I think it is fair to say that the person responsible for that tweet was most likely fired and DiGiorno’s brand image is now somewhat damaged.

According to Buzzfeed, the entire DiGiorno team is sorry. Obviously. The company’s parent firm, Nestle U.S.A. stated “The tweet was a mistake, quickly realized as such, and deleted seconds later.” But can doing so truly revoke the image that is now associated with the company? This is often a question that arises when large organizations make a mistake this big. Especially in the world of social media.

Days after the incident, DiGiorno continued to apologize to any person that tweeted at #WhyIStayed mistakeit and rightfully so. I’d guess that DiGiorno won’t be jumping into Twitter hashtags anytime in the near future. At least without carefully examining the context of such.

So, Im interested. What steps do you think companies can take to help repair their image from a situation like that of Digiorno? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear what you have to say!




Brodrick, R. (2014). DiGiorno Accidentally Tried To Advertise Their Pizza In A Hashtag About Domestic Violence. Retrieved from http://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis/digiorno-whyistayed-you-had-pizza#.ofwOWnQXl

Burt, B. (2015). Valuable Lessons From 5 Shockingly Bas Social Media Fails. Retrieved from http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2015/04/valuable-lessons-5-shockingly-bad-social-media-fails/

Griner, D. (2014). DiGiorno Is Really, Really Sorry About Its Tweet Accidentally Making Light of Domestic Violence: Reminder to always check the context on hashtags. Retrieved from http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/digiorno-really-really-sorry-about-its-tweet-accidentally-making-light-domestic-violence-159998

Rogers, A. (2015). The Science of Why No One Agrees On the Color of This Dress. Retrieved from http://www.wired.com/2015/02/science-one-agrees-color-dress/

Winchel, B. (2014). Social media lessonsfrom DiGiorno’s hashtag fail. Retrieved from http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/Social_media_lessons_from_DiGiornos_hashtag_fail_17234.aspx


Buzzfeed’s “Tasty” Deemed a Huge Social Win

By: Cody Ferguson


Internet media company, Buzzfeed has recently made giant waves in the world of social media. As if the social news and entertainment company doesn’t have enough of a following already, their brainchild campaign, “TASTY” has food lovers all over the world drooling from each mouth-watering video.

The social media micro-campaign launched in July of 2015 with a focus on providing short, relevant videos of food recipes. Since its’ beginning, the campaign has generated millions of views daily and even has its own Facebook page with over 37 million likes.

Buzzfeed’s “TASTY” was not created with ROI truly in mind but more so skyrocketing the Buzzfeed brand even higher than it already is. It’s fair to say that through the creation of this campaign, the media giant simply desired to build a larger audience and capture the attention of social users around the world. But how did Buzzfeed knock this one out of the ballpark?

Short, relevant content

The key to truly building an engaged audience via social media is to provide them with relevant content. Short, relevant content. This can be attributed to the campaign’s massive success. Each hyper-lapse video suits the average attention span of social media users resulting in a majority their videos running under two minutes in length.  taste-recipe

Relevancy is also a key reason for why this campaign has exploded in the digital world. But how can simple food recipes generate millions upon millions of social engagements?

I think it’s safe to say that most of you have turned to the Internet or social media specifically in search of a new recipe. In fact, instead of relying on family recipes, and cookbooks, over 50 percent of consumers are turning to Facebook and Twitter to learn about food. With the rise in social media, this statistic does not surprise many.

Campaign Logistics

Buzzfeed conducted this campaign with seamlessly smooth efforts. With the combination of key insights of 2015 social media trends and the available knowledge about Millennials and video content, this campaign was a success from the start. The surge of Facebook video autoplay, GIFS, Vine, and Snapchat all prove our urgency to absorb the content we’re interested in. By 2017, video will account for 69% of all Internet traffic. It’s safe to say that Buzzfeed is well ahead of the curve and only adds to the reasons why they knocked this one out of the park.


How could they improve?

I think this campaign has been executed flawlessly. It definitely will be tough to top TASTY in terms of future campaigns however, Buzzfeed has never failed to deliver top-notch content to their audience. They have shown a great example of how to truly build an engaged audience. What else could they do?

My only critique of this campaign is that I would like to see them continue to diversify their content. It’s great that they are present on each social channel including Vine, Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube. However, there comes a point in time when your audience desires and benefits from face-to-face interactions. I think they could hold a national conference devoted to all things food. Because they have harvested this enormous audience, a conference could easily generate thousands if not millions of dollars in revenue. However, I think this campaign will continue to grow and we can most likely expect some type of spinoff addressing the needs of another audience.



Bold, C. (2012, March 05). Most People Discover Food Using Social Media and Food Blogs, New Study Says. Retrieved from http://www.thekitchn.com/most-people-now-get-recipes-from-social-media-food-blogs-new-study-says-food-news-167034

Cisco. (2015, May 27) Cisco Visual Networking Index: Forecast and Methodology, 2014-2019 White Paper. Retrieved from http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/collateral/service-provider/ip-ngn-ip-next-generation-network/white_paper_c11-481360.html 

David, E. (2015, December 11). Top 10 Influential Social Media Campaigns of 2015. Retrieved from http://www.adherecreative.com/blog/top-10-influential-social-media-campaigns-of-2015

Gesenhues, A. (2015, November 20). Top 10 Video Creators in October: Buzzfeed Tasty Ranks No. 1 With 1.1 Billion Video Views. Retrieved from http://marketingland.com/top-10-video-creators-in-october-buzzfeed-tasty-ranks-no-1-earning-1-1-billion-video-views-152906

Marshall, B. (2015, December 14). Top Social Media Campaigns of 2015. Retrieved from http://socialdriver.com/2015/12/14/top-social-media-campaigns-of-2015/