Domino’s Video Prank Won’t Produce Lasting Brand Damage

(Note: Turn off volume while watching this, it echoes)

Two Domino’s Pizza employees have been fired and arrested after YouTubing a prank involving “booger sandwiches.” The New York Times has more:

When two Domino’s Pizza employees filmed a prank in the restaurant’s kitchen, they decided to post it online. In a few days, thanks to the power of social media, they ended up with felony charges, more than a million disgusted viewers, and a major company facing a public relations crisis.

In videos posted on YouTube and elsewhere this week, a Domino’s employee in Conover, N.C., prepared sandwiches for delivery while putting cheese up his nose, nasal mucus on the sandwiches, and violating other health-code standards while a fellow employee provided narration.

The two were charged with delivering prohibited foods.

WSOC has more details:

Hammonds (the female prankster), 31, has a criminal history that includes a conviction for sexual battery last June and convictions for possession of stolen property and breaking into a vending machine.

Eyewitness News spoke to her mother, who asked that we don’t provide her name. Her mother said her daughter is, “Very remorseful. Stupid. Embarrassed. Those were her words.”

The other prankster is 32 years old.

This week’s events–first, Amazon, now this–prove beyond a doubt that social media has the power to instantly shake up companies. The New York Times article covers that component well.

But is the brand damage serious or lasting? I doubt it. The company may spend time and resources to lure back customers, but most people understand that the employees, not the company, are responsible for the content of the video. “Booger sandwiches” could happen at any fast food joint, not just Domino’s.

As long as the company assures people that this won’t happen again, people will forgive. So far, their commentary looks good:

Now, all they need to do is offer discounted pizza. It’s a surefire way to draw customers back again.

Written by Drea Knufken

Currently, I create and execute content- and PR strategies for clients, including thought leadership and messaging. I also ghostwrite and produce press releases, white papers, case studies and other collateral.