Pizza Hut isn’t a Stranger to Creating Publicity Stunts out of New “Positions” (2007’s VP of Pizza Campaign)
Seemingly undaunted, and hopefully encouraged, by the the recent fallout surrounding Domino’s aptly named “booger-gate,” Pizza Hut (YUM) officially announced its search for the “Twintern” today, after Stephanie Clifford noted the open casting call in the New York Times a few days ago. As Bob Kraut, vice president for marketing communications at the company noted to the Times:
“They’ll be our social media journalist, chronicling in 140 characters or less what’s going on at Pizza Hut.”
With so many companies trying to figure out a social media strategy along with best practices for using tools like Twitter, the idea of a Twintern seems like a win-win. As long as Pizza Hut understands that it’s just the first step in getting their feet wet within the Twitter and blogo-spheres, and they’re not a “journalist” just because they’re creating content, or micro-content in this case.
Pizza Hut, isn’t disclosing what they’ll be paying the Twintern to manage their new Twitter handle (Already 1,000 plus followers), but they’ll likely find a very talented and capable individual (Read: Their IT people are about to get inundated with applications) for a bargain-basement price. More importantly, they’re creatively using the “casting call” as a social media publicity stunt to heighten their mind-share in the space.
While content creation will be a big aspect of the new Pizza Hut gig, Clifford rightly notes that social media monitoring may be the more important job responsibility:
“The Twintern must also play social-media defense, monitoring Twitter for any mentions of the brand and alerting superiors whenever anything negative about the Hut is being said. (Applicants should study last week’s YouTube gross-out video posted by Domino’s employees, which was quickly passed around Twitter, to understand why.)”
The Domino’s case study is yet the latest example in a line of recent PR fire drills which have bubbled up from social media platforms as companies failed to respond in a timely matter (Motrin, Amazon).
While Domino’s has done a lot of things right after missing the YouTube video for the first 24-48 hours (pictured above – as it has been taken down), the delay in reaction put them in very a deep hole. A hole that wouldn’t have been nearly as big if they had quickly identified the video through Radian6 or a similar service and responded quickly within the YouTube community and through Twitter.
Since then, they have done a good job of following the crisis communications’ handbook by creating their own YouTube video response (below) with CEO Patrick Doyle and fostering conversations with their new Twitter handle (100+ more followers than Pizza Hut).
However, while the fallout from “booger-gate” has created an “opportunity” to grow Domino’s social media presence, Pizza Hut finds themselves in the more enviable position: cautiously observing and moving slowly into the social media space rather than falling in backwards in reaction to a crisis situation.