Remember last year’s Super Bowl Oreo tweet during the blackout? This year’s entry for Twitter brand brilliance was during another major contest — the Grammy Awards. Australian superstar rapper Iggy Azalea earlier that day sent out a tweet to her 4.2 million fans decrying that a Papa John’s delivery person made her cell phone number public, resulting in a flood of calls to her. Not amused, she tweeted “@PapaJohns was my favorite pizza but the drivers they use give out your personal phone number to their family members.” Papa John’s response, rather than being hat in hand was tongue in cheek: it replied “@iggyazalea# We should have known better. Customer and employee privacy is important to us. Please don’t #bounce us!”, the Bounce reference being to Ms. Azalea’s hit tune by that name. The crisis management team at Papa John’s apparently was out on a break. Ms. Azalea didn’t think that humor was the right response and sent out more tweets criticizing the pizza company’s lack of seriousness, and additional tweets from the company only made matters worse. Enter competitor DiGiorno Pizza, now with the potential of reaching 4.2million new fans while its competitor crumbled, and tweeted “@IggyAzalea delivery.smh” — “smh” being text slang for “shaking my head.” A very pleased Ms. Azalea, delighted with her new BFF, tweeted back “”@DiGiornoPizza I know right!”
As the musical group the Byrds once sang, “there is a time for everything….” but there definitely are times when brands should not try being funny. With privacy being one of the front and center issues of our time, when a celebrity publicly complains about a privacy invasion by a brand, that’s serious, and not an opening for a one liner. And getting pie in the face can’t be the brand image Papa John’s was hoping for.