Social Media

Learning from Crisis: Domino’s Makes the Right Social Media Moves

Domino’s may just go from being considered (but not added) for our Social Media Hall of Shame to social media rock star fame. You might remember that back in April, 2009 a couple of immature Domino’s employees made a video of themselves doing horrible things to (apparent) customer pizzas. The pair was charged with delivering prohibited foods, the media went wild, the company’s sales dropped 3 percent, and the franchise location where the video was made went out of business five months later.

Domino's Gross Video

That the company delayed in handling the crisis with an old-media, delayed-reaction (48 hours), press-releasey response is odd because back in 2008, they pioneered a wonderful interactive application: the real-time Pizza Tracker. When you order a Domino’s pizza online, you can watch the progress via a thermometer graph as your pizza is prepared, baked, checked for quality and delivered.

Domino's Pizza Tracker Status Screen

In a truly savvy move, Domino’s includes the names of the actual employees working to get you your pizza. Unbelievable! When we ordered a pizza recently (for the first time in many years), you could even skin the site using six different themes from Hair Metal to Romance Novel; we chose the tropical theme (it being winter in Minnesota and all). And we got into rooting for the employees – “Go Bob! Check that pizza!” – and greeted the delivery guy by name when the pizza showed up (within 30 minutes).

Even more important than this real-time – the company claims the status is updated within 40 seconds – interactivity: The Pizza Tracker page includes a panel for feedback, entitled Help Us Get Better. One question sets Domino’s expectation for customer satisfaction: “We want your ordering experience to rock. How was it?”

Domino's Pizza Tracker Survey

So despite the fact that creating the Pizza Tracker indicates Domino’s understood a lot about digital media, the company did not handle the gross videos particularly well. But there was a silver lining to the crisis.

Combined with ranking last in a 2009 survey of consumer taste preferences among national chains, the incident caused Domino’s to reevaluate the product they were selling. In numerous focus groups, consumers indicated that Domino’s was producing a low-quality, unappealing product. The company needed to do some soul searching.

In an act of extremely brand bravery, they decided to own up to their shortcomings and even – the horror! – broadcast them. They entirely remade their product line, answering the criticisms uncovered in their research, and then, in December 2009, made a series of commercials featuring company employees discussing the bad qualities of their former product – cardboard crust, sauce that tastes like ketchup – and explaining how they had changed.

In mid-2011, Dominos posted a five-minute documentary online (created by CP+ B agency) called Pizza Turnaround and flanked it with uncensored tweets. In the video, Dominos employees react emotionally to the negative remarks about their food, and they show their passion for their product (following our dictate to Be a Person).

The company then sent a camera crew along with their head chefs to knock on the doors of their worst critics to engage them in conversation, and posted these visits online. One critic, obviously uncomfortable at being engaged on his front stoop, said, “I didn’t know you were listening.”

The chefs gave the critics a taste of the new pizza, eliciting at least one “Oh my God, that’s delicious” response. The media loved it. Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert quipped, “It takes alpha meatballs to stand up and say, ‘America, we suck.’” The immediate result: a sales gain of 14 percent, doubled profits, and a 44 percent rise in the company’s share price.

Wow! Domino’s went from a stiff and corporate response to the gross pizza video disaster to an intimate campaign to let people know the company had listened to their concerns and changed their product. They took the opportunity presented by a negative experience to learn how to use social media to tell the company’s – and its employees’ – story.

Some enterprises might be uncomfortable opening the kimono like Domino’s did. Could yours really take the things that people really hate about your products, publicize them, publicly fix them, then ask customers to give real-time feedback on your Website? Maybe? Check the results we cited: a sales gain of 14 percent, doubled profits, and a 44 percent rise in the company’s share price.

Would that work for your company?

Old Spice and Moneyball: Integrating Social Media

Old Spice and Moneyball: Integrating Social Media

What do the Old Spice body wash “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign and the movie Moneyball have in common? In the first post in this series, Old Spice and Moneyball: How Marketers Must Learn to Love Social Media, I examined Old Spice’s campaign, and in the second, Old Spice and Moneyball: Embracing Social Media, I reviewed the most remarkable facet of the campaign: direct-response YouTube videos. In this post I compare Billy Bean’s innovation vs. Old Baseball with current conditions in the advertising and marketing industry.

Old Spice Guy Manta Claus

I just saw Moneyball, the movie, and I see some real parallels here between the Old Baseball techniques of traditional advertising and marketing and the new ground Old Spice has broken.

In the movie (and real life) Billy Bean decides to disregard the conventional wisdom (experienced scouts find and evaluate talent; fielding is as important as getting on base) and build a new paradigm. He was told in many different ways how it won’t work; it’s heretical; he’s an idiot. Although his team wins 20 straight games, setting a major league record, it fails to win the pennant. Everybody says this confirms his idiocy. Then the Red Sox use his method to win two World Series and break the curse of the Bambino.

This is like the ad world’s reaction to Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign: They only managed to maintain share; the social media frenzy didn’t turn into dollars; quirky works, but can’t sustain.

After the YouTube video response campaign, Old Spice didn’t entirely abandon the quirky and interactive social media based approach to advertising. They set up a duel between “New Old Spice Guy” Fabio and “Old Old Spice Guy” Isaiah Mustafa that featured each spokesman responding to comments made via social media. They went on to do some other clever videos. Then, during December, 2011, they created the “Manta Claus” campaign in which Mustafa announces he wants to give gifts to all 7 billion of us.

In the first video, Mustafa name checks Twitter user @beautyjunkies  and gifts her with a pair of shoes made out of necklaces. @beautyjunkies is a lady named Amber with more than 12,000 followers who runs a sophisticated Website that hawks all kinds of beauty accessories. This type of site is similar to the “fashion hauling” sites targeted at young women. On haul sites and videos, women show off their latest fashion finds. So @beautyjunkies is a savvy choice for Old Spice, who admitted that when they started, they had little idea of how to find social media influencers. “We don’t have the answers of who the real influencers are in the world right now,” said Iain Tait, global interactive executive creative director at Wieden + Kennedy, who produced the original Old Spice campaigns. “We wanted to pick a cross-section where we could meet influencers in different areas.”[1]

Mustafa goes on in a series of videos name-checking 25 other social media users, Australia, Billings, Montana, Matt Lauer, and South America (in Spanish). These videos don’t have the stratospheric numbers of views of the originals — ranging from 45,000 to half a million views each versus the 3.5 million combined views for the Fabio/Mustafa duel videos — but the approach shows that Old Spice understands the technique they pioneered.

That Old Spice gets it is reflected in the fact that, for the second straight year, their campaigns have topped the list as the most viral brand of the year in video. Old Spice is even name-checked in Mashable’s infographic, The Evolution of Advertising: From Stone Carving to the Old Spice Guy.

Continuing our conversation, Chris Cortilet, Principal of human-centered design firm, Azul7, thinks that companies in both the advertising/marketing and the digital/interactive camps can learn a lot from Old Spice’s success. “There are so many in the digital or interactive industry who think the ad world is crap,” Cortilet said. “I just think that there is a legacy of things agencies do that our community should take note of. By the same token, advertising folks are starting to get some aspects of social media, and when they do get it, they’ll be a force.”


[1] Advertising Week’s How Old Spice Ruled the Real-Time Web: bit.ly/thJ6Dj



Old Spice and Moneyball: Embracing Social Media

Old Spice and Moneyball: Embracing Social Media

In the first post in this series, Old Spice and Moneyball: How Marketers Must Learn to Love Social Media, I asked “What do the Old Spice body wash ‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like‘ campaign and the movie Moneyball have in common?” The post examined Old Spice’s campaign, which was a smashing success by almost any measure.

Old Spice Video Responses

According to Chris Cortilet, Principal of human-centered design firm, Azul7, “The advertising community noticed the effect of the campaign and, because the ads started on YouTube and achieved such success, likes to use it as a case study of effective integration of social media and traditional advertising. Agencies talk about the initial 19% increase in sales. Very good. But then Old Spice did the unthinkable: They stopped producing the commercials. Six months later they relaunched the campaign and saw a small 7% uptick in sales. Then they did the unthinkable again: They stopped updating content, and six months later they saw a negative effect on sales.”

There may have been seemingly rational reasons for this. Ad agencies and brands are afraid to let an approach get stale (tell that to Mr. Whipple, the “Don’t Squeeze the Charmin” guy featured in ads for more than 20 years). Perhaps the effect of the campaign was diminishing. There was discussion in the ad community that the campaign had done nothing more than maintain Old Spice’s share in the face of Dove’s launch of a competing product.[1]

Whatever the reasons, in some way, the traditional way of managing ad campaigns won out, and Old Spice moved on. Advertising folks figured the campaign was clever and splashy, but changed nothing. I’m sure there were plenty of naysayers saying things like “It’s a fluke; you can’t replicate this” to Old Spice. I think they were wrong. Old Spice minted gold, and the industry had no idea.

What the advertising community did not catch is that Old Spice invented a new way of relating with individual users — YouTube custom video responses to individual fan comments.

Old Spice’s video response campaign, in which the Old Spice Guy responded in near real-time to fan tweets and posts, was the fastest growing interactive campaign in history, according to Social Times,[2] who noted the following statistics about the campaign:

  • The campaign received a shocking 5.9 million YouTube views in the first day. That’s more views that Obama’s victory speech received after the first twenty-four hours!
  • On the second day of the campaign, Old Spice accounted for 8 videos out of the 11 most popular videos on the Web.
  • By the third day, the Old Spice response campaign had more than 20 million views.
  • A week after the campaign launched it boasted over 40 million views.

OMG. Imagine if it were your tweet they responded to. Wouldn’t you tell everyone you know? Wouldn’t you think Old Spice was the coolest brand ever? Wouldn’t they have a fan for life? Now, if they’d taken the next step of hooking those fans in to an evangelism program, that would have been even better. (See our social media evangelism series, beginning with the post How Can Social Media Scale?)

Sure it was probably expensive to do those spots, but the way they did it — in almost real time, with writing, shooting and editing taking a half hour for each bit — was, I think, sustainable. And probably fun for all involved. After 48 hours, during which it sparked nearly 200 viral response videos and receive tremendous coverage via blog comments and tweets, Old Spice shut the campaign down. It’s like creating a golden goose and leaving it in the barnyard to move on to regular geese.

Cortilet said, “Advertisers may get social media strategy, but they still don’t understand the human part, the engagement on an ongoing basis. It’s still a media-driven mindset. They loved the idea of what they did to get the attention of the consumer, but they didn’t consider the ongoing relationship. And it seems like, in this one, they really missed an opportunity.”

What’s this got to do with Moneyball? That’s the subject of the next post.

Next up: Old Spice and Moneyball: Integrating Social Media


[1] Advertising Age’s How Much Old Spice Body Wash Has the Old Spice Guy Sold? bit.ly/t7C2pS

[2] Social Times’ Old Spice Response Campaign Was More Popular Than Obama: bit.ly/voggHI


Old Spice and Moneyball: How Marketers Must Learn to Love Social Media

Old Spice and Moneyball: How Marketers Must Learn to Love Social Media

What do the Old Spice body wash “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign and the movie Moneyball have in common? No, I’m not thinking it’s that they both have sports tie-ins (Old Spice’s actor, Isaiah Mustafa, was a pro wide receiver). I’m thinking in a social media context.

Old Spice Guy

I’ll get to the answer in a bit (this is a multi-part series). But first, let’s take a look at the wonderfulness that was Old Spice’s ad campaign. The following is adapted from a chapter about creating buzz in our book, Be a Person: The Social Operating Manual for Enterprises.

Buzz Creation Techniques

The first thing you must do to create buzz is to find a promotional hook, something that grabs your community’s attention, like Seth Godin’s purple cow. If you’re short on ideas, track the hottest conversations about your product category; ask opinion leaders in your community.

Once you have the hook, you need the story. Consider involving those you serve (customers, clients, stakeholders of all kinds) and get them to tell their stories. A kind of silly story, and some innovative combining of old and new media, drove one of the most buzz-worthy ad campaigns in recent memory: the Old Spice body wash “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign. It combined quirky, high-tech television commercials[1] featuring an attractive and cheeky former NFL wide receiver with deft use of social media to enhance the buzz.

In addition to heavy rotation of the ad on TV, Old Spice posted 186 highly-publicized personalized response videos[2] on YouTube, and they amassed an incredible 34 million views and a billion PR impressions in a single week. These videos responded directly to tweets about the product, including a hilarious “this has in no way been a cross-promotion for an affiliated Old Spice sister company” response to @Gillette.[3]

These videos helped make Old Spice, with 94 million views, the number 1 all-time most-viewed sponsored channel on YouTube.[4] In addition, Old Spice’s Twitter followers went up 3200 percent; Google searches rocketed up 2200 percent; Facebook interactions climbed by 800-1000 percent; and traffic to the Old Spice Website increased 350-500 percent. Old Spice became the number 1 branded body wash, and sales increased 55 percent, with some product variations’ sales rising by as much as 1900 percent.[5]

This brilliant campaign shows how to synergistically combine old and new media to achieve dramatic results. Old Spice combined a well-done TV ad campaign with use of Twitter and YouTube to increase buzz.

Next up: Old Spice and Moneyball: Embracing Social Media


[1] A sample Old Spice commercial: bit.ly/a24H7d

[2] A sample Old Spice response video: bit.ly/bCQd0Q

[3] The non-cross-promotion: bit.ly/aygCa3

[4] AdAge’s How Much Old Spice Body Wash Has the Old Spice Guy Sold? bit.ly/abPJ5Z

[5] MediaBistro’s article The Old Spice Campaign, By the Numbers: bit.ly/ck8SCQ


Year-End Roundup: Posts You May Have Missed

Year-End Roundup: Posts You May Have Missed

Lots of people do year-end retrospectives on various topics. We’d like to take a look at the year’s blog posts and highlight our (not necessarily your) favorites.


Grand Central Clock


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Social Media Hall of Shame  The Hall is our compendium of social media fails (epic and otherwise) by some of the savviest brands, enterprises and companies around. It’s due for an update in January 2012, so watch for that.
Flashing the Mob With Digital Community Officers  We’ve certainly seen enough evidence that the State needs to pay attention to social media this year. SMPG Partner Ken Morris, JD, proposes that Digital Community Officers make their policing objectives transparent and become a part of the digital community.
8 Steps to Starting a Business Relationship Using Social Media  SMPG Partner Robbie Johnson has designed a simple eight-step process for B2B sales using social media. The proven process has enabled him to land accounts with major multibillion dollar corporations—without ever doing a sales pitch.
Social Media on Less Than Two Hours a Day  We often get asked how long it takes to maintain a social media presence. In this post, we laid out social media tasks that will take you less than two hours a day, but which will broaden and deepen your social media presence.
What CIOs Need to Know About Social Media  We dug up an 18-month-old post on Mashable on the subject of CIOs and social media and created a series—still ongoing—of reactions and suggestions.
Leadership on the Cutting Edge  We wax philosophical on the role of leadership during times of rapid, threatening change like, say, now, with social media, mobile, tablets, the always-on enterprise, and other intimidating and rapid technological change.
How Can Social Media Scale?  Customer 2.0 is currently more influenced by friends’ – or even strange but real people – recommendations than almost any other single buying decision input. If the old ways of marketing and advertising go the way of the buggy whip or the bookstore, how can social media scale to take its place? This is the first post of a series that proposes the answer: creating a social media evangelist program.
The Tyranny of the Social Customer  A story on another blog about a guy who tried to return worn out shoes for full credit and then threatened the retailer with Facebook sent a chill up our spines. Has social media now given customers too much power?
How to Identify a Bad Social Media Proposal  We lose it a bit when a colleague gets a brain-dead social media proposal and starts to take it seriously!

Many other of our posts are excerpts from our book, Be a Person: The Social Operating Manual for Enterprises. To follow them in order, start at What is Social Media? We are slowly serializing the book in this space. If you can’t wait (we’re only up to page 124 of 430), you can buy the book at http://bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson