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When Brands Fire Back on Social Media

Posted by Joe Clarkin on 6/22/15 11:00 PM
Topics: social media, college store customer service

We are not necessarily endorsing this method of "customer service," but that doesn't mean it's not entertaining. In this excerpt of an article from Hootsuite's blog, you'll read a few examples of companies eschewing the traditional responses that you typically see when they engage with their customers online, often with hilarious results. You can check out the full article with more examples here!

Discovery Channel teaches the Penguins a lesson

How did a simple Tweet from the Discovery Channel turn into an awesome burn lauded by hockey fans? It all comes down to the innocent penguin.

This spring, Discovery sent out a Tweet on the average height of the emperor penguin.

The Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team saw it as an opportunity to maybe spark some interesting social media conversations. They responded with a Tweet of their own, on the average height of a Pittsburgh Penguin. Clever… except in retrospect, since it lead to this amazing comeback.

A little context: the Penguins had, only a few weeks earlier, been eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs. Maybe Discovery’s social media manager is a hockey fan of a different breed? Either way, a network that is known for providing educational programming definitely taught the Penguins a lesson. And it paid off to the tune of 31,000 retweets and 34,000 favorites.

DiGiorno Pizza with the smooth delivery

Rapper Iggy Azalea made headlines on Grammy night this year, not for her award nominations, but for a Twitter battle with Papa John’s restaurant. Iggy ordered a pizza and the restaurant employee who delivered it distributed her information to their family member, who proceeded to send Iggy unwanted texts. Iggy was less than pleased, with both the texts and the response of a Papa John’s manager, and she spread that displeasure on Twitter.

This was a potential PR nightmare for Papa John’s, which apologized and did their best to address the situation on Twitter. Another brand saw the situation in a different light, however, and rushed in to take advantage.


DiGiorno Pizza is a maker of frozen pizzas that uses the tagline “It’s not delivery, it’s DiGiorno.” The entire situation was a perfect match for their value proposition, and their generally casual and humorous approach to Twitter. Their Tweet was simple but effective, and totally took advantage of a competitor’s screw-up (smh means ‘shake my head’ for the record). By entering the conversation, DiGiorno ended up with a quasi-endorsement from a famous rapper. One brand’s nightmare is another’s dream.

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