Crust Free Pizza Fail

When talking about Twitter accounts which do it well – which engage users, spark conversation and create evangelists, I’m usually not one to go past @Crust_pizza, who do it right.

Their Twitter account has risen to huge popularity using the Weekly #crustfreepizzafriday competition which – every Friday – is practically viral.

Their day-to-day content is targeted at the younger audience, with videos drawn from the vein of Funniest Home videos, music tracks which they’re into, movie trailers, in addition to a sprinkling of corporate news like store openings. And, perfectly, they respond to customers in realtime.

However, today they tweeted this:

What, did they put the Work Experience kid on Twitter for the day?! More on this, after the jump.

The tweet links to a YouTube compilation of “Bad Female Drivers” – which the response of which has taken Twitter by storm. The ramifications of this Tweet was huge on Twitter, with users within the hour boycotting the pizza (or at least the free pizza ;))



However, the team at Crust Pizza have had the perfect response on Social – not deleting the tweet, acknowledging it, and apologising.

However, the real question is whether the apology is enough – have they permanently damaged their reputation? Or will their apology in the right place at the right time counter this damage?

We’ll see.

But I won’t be buying Crust Pizza anytime soon. And maybe instead of #crustfreepizzafriday, I’ll be highlighting the #crustfreepizzafail.

However, based on the most recent responses – it looks like Crust Pizza won’t be leaving unscathed.

~beaney

28 Responses to Crust Free Pizza Fail

  1. Dain says:

    Yes a large number of us find it funny to watch bad women drivers, because bad male drivers usually result in death, mayhem and twisted metal.
    There’s underlying psychology behind that so I find the reaction displayed above a little exasperating.

    Yes, I’m a male and my wife drives better than me.

  2. Beaney says:

    Hi Dain,
    Thanks for your comment!

    I think for me the issue is that of all YouTube videos of “Bad Drivers” which Crust Pizza could have chosen, they chose one which highlighted and perpetuates a stereotype which implies women are incompetent.

    Sure, these drivers are bad, but not all these clips show whether these drivers are even women. The underlying assumption this perpetuates is that because the driving is bad, they must be women.

    Sure, some women are bad drivers. And some men are bad drivers (and some men, and women, as you say, are hoons and result in death, mayhem and twisted metal).

    But why did Crust not highlight a video called “Bad Drivers” instead of one which implies a large portion of the population are incompetent?

  3. Did I take offence to Crust’s video? No.
    Did I think it was off brand for them ? No.
    Will it affect my purchasing their products? No
    Would I be more convinced to buy Crust pizza if I wasn’t already a customer because of the video? Probably not.
    Am I a woman driver? Yes

    I appreciated the opportunity to get to know Crust Pizza person a little better. Hey they aren’t just a corporate image pushed out by sausage makers who insist on a “appropriate” way to communicate.

    If I say they can’t have fun, then neither can I with my business. Stuff that!

  4. Peter says:

    Funny? Yes
    Sexist? Yes
    Inflammatory? Yes

    Yet I laughed.

    Crust would have been better to find the same compilation without the sexist title and the inflammatory ending. Lets face it, we’ve all seen these clips many times before but this was just framed by a sexist misanthrope and placed on youtube.

    On the other hand, this post brought crust_pizza to my attention and I now follow them.

    • Beaney says:

      No such thing a bad press, eh?

      I think a similar video could definitely be highlighted without the gender focus.

      Thanks for the comment, Peter!

  5. Beaney says:

    Hey Allison,

    There have actually been a few comments on Twitter from women saying that they weren’t offended by the video. Each to their own, I get that.

    But is it cool for a representative of a Company to rip on any group? What if they’d ripped on a certain social or racial group? Is that aligned with their brand? Why is it okay because we’re women?

    There are loads of ways to make a fun brand, which Crust usually does a really good job of – highlighting music, movies, memes.

    And in regards to your comment about getting to know the person behind the Crust Pizza account – all we’ve learnt about the person behind Crust Pizza is that they think it’s okay to promote content which rips on women. Awesome. Love to get to know them more.

    • “Rips on women” is the opinion I find hard to comprehend. All of those events happened and they are all women. Why make it a bandwagon? Quick, remove all the funny baby videos before they rise up and claim they are being discriminated against.

      Why identify as a victim?

      • Beaney says:

        All the events happened, yes, many of them happen to be women – however, not all the drivers get out of the car to prove they are women. And I’m suuuuure there is just as much footage to create a compilation of “Bad Male Drivers”. 😉

        I think there is already enough discussion on the internet about the ethics of people posting pics and videos of children doing stupid things on the internet due to the fact that they are too young to understand the consequences of those postings.

        (For example, the controversy around David after Dentist http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2009/02/09/how-a-dentist-visit-became-a-youtube-hit/)

        I don’t think it’s a case of ‘remove all the discriminatory content from the internet’ – but a Brand shouldn’t be linking to it.

        Why identify as a victim? Because as a female, I don’t believe it’s okay to perpetuate ideas about women being incompetent. It encourages our society to think that way and I don’t won’t to be limited in my life from doing the things I want to do because I’m seen as less competent due to gender.

      • ackk no nesting after 3 comments.

        Can you prove to me it encourages people to think that way? I don’t think so.

        It’s the old “video games make people more violent” type argument. People blindly believe it with no proof.

        I think as a society we should be focusing on learning to be less fragile when our ideas of humour do not match someone else’s.

        Still I am not going to change your opinion and nor you mine 🙂

      • aidandegraaf says:

        “All of those events happened and they are all women.”

        By specifically skewing the statistics, whereby 100% bad of the drivers in the sample are women, you are implying that 100% of women are bad drivers. If the demographic sampled showed a few women as well as a few men, then the message would imply that “we” are bad drivers. However, the message of this video is that “they” are bad drivers, creating an “other” which is deemed less capable, thereby segregating and marginalising the group.

        Whether this “encourages” the view is the questionable part though which can only be tested individually, and you’ll probably find a number socio-economic variables that would help you determine this part of the equation. Some people with a particular education will see this in context and have a laugh in jest. However others will see it in an entirely different context and laugh in derision.. and that is why Crust need to apologise – it is these people who are encouraged.

        This is Sociology 101, as taught and studied in most of the worlds universities.

  6. Megan says:

    This all seems like a huge overreaction by people. Sure, probably not the best video to link to, but their apology was quick and fair. Why not just let them move on?

  7. Beaney says:

    Hey Megan,
    I agree that Crust responded in a great way for social – but should it have happened in the first place?

  8. @erikajoy says:

    I think they made a mistake, and they know that.

    I don’t think they need to be damned for it.

  9. Beaney says:

    Crust have sent out a new tweet in the past few minutes:

    “Thnks 4all ur comments,we recognise we missed the mark&apologise.Listening 2u guys,we’ve removed the tweet.Keep the feedback coming, thanks”

    I think they’re certainly trying to backpedal, but at least they’re certainly making all the right moves now to apologise.

  10. David says:

    Twitter’s marketing if done right tends to bring a brand / company out of the shell of being overly concerned with being “on-brand” all the time. Being “on-brand” is all well and good but that also tends to remove the human quality out of the type of messages they put out because let’s face it – it’s a extremely prescriptive way of communicating and that’s kind of the opposite of being authentic.

    My thoughts are that it’s good to make a few mistakes on social media, take the backlash, respond and make it obvious that you’re listening and learning from your community. Handling that way will make the brand more human / interesting and yes – imperfect! But overall people will resonate a lot more with the brand – because yes, aren’t we all imperfect!

    So, it’s it a mistake to make one? Or is it better to huddle under the cover of our polished branding guidelines to avoid making a mistake at all costs?

    @Crust_pizza have the potential of coming out of this one even stronger.

    • Beaney says:

      Hi David,
      I think you’re right, and I think that Crust is definitely showing they’re learning from it.

      I’ve seen a few other brands in the past which have done the exact same thing – not only learn from it, but prove they’re human and come out all the better for it.

      But that’s simply a question with life, isn’t it? Huddle under the covers to keep safe or jump and see where it takes you?

  11. stevewhat says:

    Is it ironic that the previous story to this was about P&O bringing the human element to social media? To err is human, to forgive divine! As long as they learn from it! I’ll be following from now on!

    • Beaney says:

      Hey Stevewhat,
      It is indeed human to make mistakes. 🙂

      I think Crust is definitely learning from the response from people on Twitter.

      They’ve apologised and I think we’ll see in the coming months what impact this has on Crust – maybe it will cause some people to stop buying Crust, or, conversely, it might increase loyalty because they’ve been so transparent about the issue. In fact, the entire day they’ve been thanking followers for their feedback.

      I’ve just noticed they’ve just put an official statement on their site from their CEO Michale Logos:
      “We’ve learned a lesson today and will do better in the future.” http://174.129.37.171/News.aspx?pid=126

      I think they’ve been really open and honest, and I think that is certainly worth something.

  12. Lawrence says:

    This reminds me of Yahoo!’s apology for employing half naked dancers at an open hack day in Taiwan:

    http://developer.yahoo.net/blog/archives/2009/10/taiwan_ohd_apology.html

    Is making fun of bad female drivers worse?

    In the first case those who were crying out foul did not stop and think about what is culturalyl acceptable or not in Taiwan and applied their own measures instead.

    In this case a joke that is about 1,000 year old (women were bad ox cart drivers before 4 stroke engines started polluting the world).

    And like with the Yahoo! incident, something completely harmless has been turned into an ‘issue’.

    Crust pizza tonight for me, no doubt.

  13. Beaney says:

    Hey Allison,

    Hahahah – I see it was foolish to enter a discussion with you! 😉

    There is a lot of layering to the perception-of-gender-in-society debate, and I don’t think it’s so clear-cut as the “video games make people violent argument”. I do see what you’re saying about perception and reality can be very different, but I don’t believe it’s the same regarding gender issues which are generationally compounded. However, I will try to dig up some examples to back up my thoughts. 😉

    I do see what you’re saying about being more open about other people’s sense of humour – I do think that is important. In this vein, I will attempt to be more open – but maybe this particular example isn’t something we’ll see eye to eye on. 😉

  14. […] blow by blow, what happened – for a run down and some screen shots check out @Beaney’s early write up over at the Amnesia Razorfish blog – but essentially Crust pizza linked to a video entitled Female Drivers on YouTube with the post […]

  15. Ef Rodriguez says:

    Boneheaded move, for sure. But they weren’t being mean-spirited. Someone will get a very stern dose of discipline, this post (and its comments) will be shared at a meeting and they’ll never make this kind of mistake again.

    Learning social media lessons in the public eye is painful, but at least they’re learning.

    • Beaney says:

      I agree, it was boneheaded, but not intentionally mean-spirited. And you’re right, it’s hard to learn social media lessons in the public eye – but where else are we going to learn them? 😉

  16. Adrian says:

    I think it’s bloody hilarious to see people call crustpizza sexist. Reminds me of when that young liberal called Obama a monkey on twitter and everyone called him racist.

    Twitter – serious business.

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