Two cents blog

#fail-time marketing

by Gemma Boucher on 11 September 2014

There has been a story doing the rounds on Twitter this week following US pizza brand DiGiorno Pizza’s efforts to jump on the latest Twitter hashtag.

Earlier this week, the hashtag #WhyIstayed started trending as women showed their support for Janay Palmer, following a leaked video on TMZ which showed her husband (Baltimore Ravens player) knocking her unconscious last week. Women everywhere used the hashtag to share their stories and experiences of domestic violence and abuse.

One person who failed to get the memo on the meaning of the hashtag was the social media intern at DiGiorno Pizza who posted the following tweet:


Within seconds, the Twitter police had taken to retweeting the misguided tweet and slamming the brand’s attempt to hijack the trending topic.

It’s a powerful example of how three words can cause an epic PR catastrophe in the world of social media. You only need to look at the flurry of apologetic tweets from DiGiorno to imagine the panic in the office.


When executed well, real-time marketing can be great for brands. But there’s a difference between being timely and being relevant. Clearly, it was an innocent mistake from the intern who acted without thinking to check the reason for the hashtag’s popularity. But it’s a mistake that will cost the company’s reputation in the coming weeks and will undoubtedly dominate brand name search results on Google for a while.

As marketers, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype of the latest trend or meme, often feeling compelled to attach your brand to whatever is capturing the public’s attention that day. But it’s essential that we ensure content is relevant for our audience and take the time to properly research the story behind that trend. Like many brands before, DiGiorno Pizza have proven this week that it’s not always good to get in on a slice of the action.

Gemma Boucher is an Account Director at BCM

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