DiGiorno Pizza has become one of the top brands on Twitter thanks to its quick wit and good ear for real-time conversations, but one careless tweet last night put that reputation at risk.
After a video of Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee Janay Palmer led to his termination from the Baltimore Ravens on Monday, thousands of women took to Twitter to discuss their physically and emotionally tortuous experiences in abusive relationships. They used the #WhyIStayed hashtag to fight the victim-blaming attitude of Palmer's critics, who had questioned why she would marry a man who knocked her unconscious.
Jumping onto the popular hashtag, DiGiorno clearly didn't look into its context before tweeting, "#whyistayed You had pizza."
— Scott Paul (@scottatslee) September 9, 2014
The backlash was swift, and within minutes the tweet had been deleted. The brand then posted the apology above, noting: "A million apologies. Did not read what the hashtag was about before posting."
It was a boneheaded mistake, to be sure, similar to snack brand Entenmann's famously regrettable decision to tweet on the hashtag #notguilty, failing to realize it was trending because Casey Anthony had been aquitted of murdering her daughter.
But in Entenmann's case, the brand responded by simply abandoning Twitter for years, leaving their account as a scorched-earth monument to poor decisions.
DiGiorno has, so far, taken the more mature and difficult approach. Since last night's #whyistayed tweet, the brand has been responding to dozens of Twitter users offended by the post. Each response has been personalized and is clearly sincere, which is a nice reprieve from the usual copy-and-paste approach to dealing with bad PR in social.
So while DiGiorno is sure to take more heat today for a truly dumb tweet, it's good to see the brand's social team didn't just close down the account, smash their phones on the ground and hop the first plane to the tropics.