So yeah, yesterday that whole “Crustgate” thing happened.
Summary: Crust Pizza are a pizza chain with a highly-regarded social media strategy, including a Twitter account that gives pizzas away every Friday. Yesterday they tweeted: “Need a laugh? Hilarious compilation of female driver madness.” with a link to a YouTube video of women crashing into light poles and such. I didn’t see the original tweet, but I saw one of my friends responding to it. I was really surprised they did it; their brand appeals a lot to women. So I retweeted it myself, adding: “Sexism FAIL. Badly done, Crust.” A bunch of other people chimed in. By the end of the day, Crust had apologised and the social media experts started weighing in. Mumbrella had a story (which quoted my tweet amongst many others), as did the Amnesia Blog. As you might expect, the anti-PC brigade was out in full force defending the post as “funny” and branding the complainers as overly defensive whingers. This guy implied that only “social media experts” had issues with the tweet. I’ve just posted my thoughts on the subject over at Warlach’s World, which I’ll repeat here for posterity:
I tweeted about it fairly early on, just noting: “Sexism FAIL. Badly done, Crust.” I stand by that. No, I wasnâ€™t offended. Iâ€™m not crying over it or anything. It’s the CONTEXT. I expect blonde jokes and bad women driver jokes in emails I get from my Grandpa. I also expect that type of thing on South Park. It doesn’t make me angry; it doesn’t get me worked up. I probably wouldn’t even have batted an eye if a brand like Dominos had sent the tweet out. But Crust’s brand, to me, doesn’t say larrikin. Their well-designed website; their social media presence; the weekly contest; their fancy pizzas… that’s all stuff that I associate with being at the higher-end of the market, with appealing to a female audience. (Every Friday, I’d estimate that 75% of the tweets I see entering their contest are from women.) So yeah, to me it struck a really wrong note and I couldn’t believe they’d made such a misstep.
That said, I’m totally happy with their response and the apology. That was well done. I just resent being lumped in as some sort of panties-in-a-wad “social media expert” (newsflash: I’m not) hyperventilating over political correctness… when in reality I was just a consumer going, “Huh, maybe this brand doesn’t mean what I thought it meant.”