Does Domino’s Pizza get new media?

Domino’s Pizza posted a youtube response last night and has moved quickly to douse the Internet-fanned yuckiness of poop in its pizza.

But when Domino’s spokesman Tim McIntyre told USA Today today the company is considering banning video cameras in stores, I wonder if they actually understand this social networking stuff – and that anyone can have a video camera on their cell phone.

The USA Today piece explains that two Domino’s employees in Conover, N.C. — fired and facing charges — posted a video on YouTube on Monday that shows one of them doing gross things to a Domino’s sub sandwich he is making, such as sticking cheese pieces up his nose and passing gas on the salami.

Although Domino’s is getting fairly high marks from social-networking and crisis-management types about its response, McIntyre told the N.Y. Times today that company executives initially decided not to respond aggressively, hoping the controversy would quiet down.

Scott Hoffman, the chief marketing officer of the social-media marketing firm Lotame, said in social media, “if you think it’s not going to spread, that’s when it gets bigger.”

That’s actually traditional media 101, but sure, dress it up with terms like new and social media.
By Wednesday afternoon, Domino’s had created a Twitter account, @dpzinfo, to address the comments, and it had presented its chief executive in a video on YouTube by evening (see below).

Yet more than one commentator has said the video may make things worse.

Domino’s CEO Patrick Doyle fails to look into the camera. Instead his eyes peer at 45 degrees, presumably in the direction of a script. The effect is not reassuring. What is even more unfortunate for Domino’s is that the posting of the video apology has caused even more YouTube commentary about the company, some of it extremely unflattering.

However, marketers are getting an instant lesson in the dangers of an online world where just about anyone with a video camera and a grudge can bring a company to its knees with lightning speed.

Here are key things experts say marketers can do to quickly catch and respond effectively to similar social-networking attacks:

• monitor social media;

• respond quickly;

• respond at the flashpoint (Domino’s first responded on consumer affairs blog The Consumerist, whose readers helped track down the store and employees who made the video);

• educate workers about social media;

• foster a positive culture; and,

• set clear guidelines.

We covered many of the same points in our Food Technology paper about food safety blogging that appeared earlier this year.