What communicators can learn from the now-famous Domino’s firestorm

Corporate VP Tim McIntyre looks back at the company’s response two years ago with satisfaction and pride.

We can only speculate what Domino’s Pizza employees Kristy Hammonds and Michael Setzer were thinking in April 2009, when she filmed him sticking grated cheese up his nose and breaking wind on a salami slice before placing the tainted products on a sandwich.

When they uploaded the video on YouTube, were they hoping to be fired, face felony food-tampering charges and end up reviled by millions? Or did it just seem like an opportunity to launch a reality TV career as America’s Most Disgusting Food Service Employees?

Either way, they left Tim McIntyre and the rest of Domino’s Pizza to clean up the mess: a devastating blow to corporate reputation, a $10 million sales hit and a worldwide viral video crisis.

Domino’s loss is our gain, however, as it fought back with a smart strategy that contributed to a turnaround that year. McIntyre, who is vice president of communications for Domino’s, was willing to explain at a recent Ragan conference how the company responded to the crisis.

An Easter prank

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