Tag Archives: social media problems

Papa John’s Pizza vs. Iggy Azalea on Twitter

Friend, client and crisis communication manager for global oil company, Tom Mueller sent me this analysis which he shared with his colleagues:

Papa John’s Pizza learned a lesson recently in managing brand via social media after one of their staff delivered a pizza to Australian rapper/model Iggy Azalea on Grammy Awards evening.

When the delivery guy recognized Iggy and realized he had her mobile number, he then shared it with some friends and family, who immediately took to texting the star. She complained to Papa John’s via Twitter, only to have the company send her a joke in reply, saying “don’t bounce us” – a play on one of her song lyrics.

Iggy (@iggyazalea) has 4.2 million followers, many of whom retweeted her further comments critical of the data breach and the company’s apparent lack of security around its customers’ personal information, including credit card data. Papa John’s eventually got smart and realized the brand risk they had incurred, probably after receiving thousands of tweets raising concerns about their company.

Iggy, for her part, was very disciplined in her criticism and did not get emotional about how the firm had treated the breach, nor about the tone of its response to her personally. She wanted answers about how the company was protecting customer data; essentially she became an advocate for Papa John’s customers around the world. Some fans urged her to sue or to demand free pizza for life. She responded that she doesn’t mind paying for pizza. Her last tweet on the issue said she wasn’t interested in a lawsuit, just wanted responsible answers from the company – and was in touch with them now.

While there is a place for humor in communications, that approach must be carefully managed with the customer’s concerns foremost in those considerations. Papa John’s missed the mark on this one.

[Great analysis and advice, couldn’t agree more Tom. I think one of the challenges here is that many companies understandably use younger staff members, digital natives, as front line of their social media team. This makes sense on the one hand. On the other, they may lack some of the judgment that comes with a few gray hairs. I suspect this happened here as one with plenty of gray hairs and definitely not a digital native, I wouldn’t have caught the “bounce” joke.]


Social Media–airline bungles while the LA Fire Department soars

The use of twitter by Brian Humphries of the LA Fire Department in reporting on the recent wildfires has the social media and crisis communication world, well, a twitter. For good reason, it is one of the most stunning examples of adoption of social media and instant news world methods to report on what is going on. Speed, directness and transparency–a great example. Here’s the twitter website with his postings which shows he is using it not just for major events like the fires, but everything that is going on.

Humphries and the LA Fire Department were one of three organizations cited at the recent Risk and Crisis Communications conference in DC. Michael Dumlao from Booz Allen Hamilton pointed to them as well as the US Coast Guard and Red Cross as government “champions” of social media. I was pleased to see that two of our clients made the list. Well, we’ll have to work on LA Fire Department.

On the other hand, some airlines are having a bit of time in the social media world. This article from the Economist talks about the problems British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have had with employees saying bad things about their employers, or worse, their employer’s customers. Ah, speed, directness and transparency–a two edged sword.

It is clear that government agencies and leading companies and organizations have to come to grips with the rapid emergence of social media. As Dumlao asked during the conference: What is your wikipedia policy?