‘Biggest announcement in 20 years’ … one of Domino’s Pizza’s Facebook banners. ‘Biggest announcement in 20 years,’ Domino’s claimed. Photo: Luis Enrique Ascui
杭州桑拿

It was a ”game changer”, but perhaps not in the way Domino’s Pizza would have liked.

The Australian pizza chain became the latest major brand to fall foul of netizens, after its week-long social media campaign about a major revamp after two decades was revealed to be the introduction of new premium toppings and square bases.

”Get ready for our biggest announcement in 20 years #gamechanger,” a banner on Domino’s Facebook page stated.

”You’ve demanded change and we’ve pushed ourselves to respond,” Domino’s chief executive Don Meij added.

But the response on social media websites such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube was less enthusiastic about the promotion, which will be officially launched today.

”YOU HAD US ON THE EDGE OF OUR SEATS FOR THIS?” one Facebook user wrote on the company’s page.

”This is not a game changer, What a waste of my time,” another wrote, while other Facebook users  complained their critical comments were deleted.

”I like dominos but they deleted my comment too, all I said was I think the hype around this for a few small changes isn’t game changing to me … everyone is allowed to have an opinion!”

On YouTube, the commentary from users about their disappointment with the hype were just as crusty.

”Really? That’s it? After 20 YEARS that’s the biggest announcement you have to make?! You guys seriously need to move a huge chunk of your marketing money back into your product development because that was shite,” one viewer wrote.

Another alluded to the frozen meat scandal in Europe, writing, ”DAMN I was hoping for horse meat lol!”

Domino’s said in a statement that it had not hidden negative feedback.

“This is not the case and we relish all feedback,” the company said, adding that it was planning to contact its Facebook fans that had left negative comments to encourage them to try the new products.

“Facebook posts are only hidden or removed on our page if they contain profound or offensive language, are racist, threatening or if Domino’s employees share commercially sensitive information.

“Posts or comments including external links are also deleted to protect the safety of our users. … Transparency has always been important at Domino’s.”

James Griffin of social media consultancy sr7 said the game changer was the way in which social media now gave consumers an opportunity to respond publicly and directly to brands’ campaigns.

While Domino’s announcement could have worked well as a physical or traditional marketing campaign, “there’s been a shift in the way consumers now interact with brands”, he said.

”When you involve social media, you’re allowing the consumer to talk back, and you simply can’t manage or manufacture what the consumers are going to say. So there’s a degree of risk in any modern marketing campaign when it comes to social media.”

Mr Griffin said allegations the company may have removed or hidden critical comments from its Facebook page ”would have made the problem far worse than what it would have been originally if they had taken the good with the bad”.

”They have every right to take ads out and market what they would see as a ‘game changer’ in their industry, but the fact is the consumer might not often believe or appreciate a concept just because it’s been marketed to them,” he added.

”And with social media they have the opportunity to make the organisation aware of that fact.”

Mr Griffin said firms such as Domino’s had to go beyond using social media as just another tool to push their marketing, and involved consumers in their marketing campaigns, such as asking their consumers what changes they would like to see.

Domino’s, which has 570 stores in Australia and New Zealand, and 364 stores in Europe, reported a net profit of $14.5 million for the six months to December, up 15.7 per cent from the same period the year before. It recorded a 15.5 per cent increase in pre-tax earnings to $20.2 million.

Shares in Domino’s reached a record high today, rising 1.3 per cent to $11.70 in early trade.

[View the story “\”Game changer\” … or not?” on Storify]

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.