Last week I gave you all the good news about DiGiorno. This week, it’s time for the bad news. Unfortunately, my favorite frozen pizza company committed a classic crime of public relations: staying silent.
In early December, a supply farm for DiGiorno pizza was accused of animal abuse after Mercy For Animals (an animal rights group) conducted an undercover investigation and caught the abuse on video (Warning: this is graphic).
Although DiGiorno usually has a great social media presence, which I examine and applaud in my previous post, DiGiorno’s complete and obvious absence from social media during this incident may inevitably hurt the company.
In PR, there is nothing worse than saying nothing. It is always best to acknowledge and apologize. If a company does not acknowledge its faults, then the company is assumed to be hiding something.
In staying silent, DiGiorno runs the risk of letting other people outside of the company tell the story in whatever way they want to present it.
Trust, or the lack thereof, is something consumers pick up on very easily. It is relatively simple to build a trusting, positive relationship with the public by engaging with them through many outlets, including social media. That being said, it is just as easy to break that trusting relationship if the company fails to communicate its faults to the public.
The animal abuse story broke on Dec. 10 and between Dec. 9 and Dec. 17 there was absolutely NO activity coming from @DiGiornoPizza.
DiGiorno jumped back into the Twitter-sphere on a pretty shaky leg after the eight-day absence. The company began tweeting again on Dec. 17 with a few tweets, but they didn’t strike me as very relevant or funny, with no mention of the animal abuse situation.
DiGiorno’s absence from Twitter (an outlet they are usually very active and engaging on) leaves the consumers with a big fat question mark. What really happened? Does DiGiorno support animal abuse? Who is responsible for this? Was anything done to fix the situation?
In PR, it is a golden rule to always address your faults because consumers will find out what happened and they shouldn’t be left to fill in the blanks themselves.