Burger King’s social media crisis, triggered by a photo of somebody standing in two lettuce bins at an Ohio location going viral has sent the chain into a sharp consumer perception decline in the US, similar to the one experienced by Domino’s in 2009.
It took Domino’s nearly four weeks for its consumer perception to recover from their incident: a YouTube video of employees doing inappropriate things with the food went widely viral, resulting in brand damage while the company’s president posted videos defending the chain’s quality and his ensuing actions against the accused employees.
By the end of last week, four days after the photo spread on the web, Burger King’s dramatic perception had sunk well below both the Top National QSR Sector and the Top Hamburger QSR Sector.
So far, Burger King has issued a statement saying "The franchisee has taken swift action to investigate this matter and terminated the three employees involved in the incident.”
Burger King, the Top National QSR Sector and the Top QSR Hamburger Sector were measured with YouGov BrandIndex’s Buzz score, which asks respondents: “If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?” The Top National QSR sector average includes such brands as Pizza Hut, Arby's, Papa John's, Domino's, Taco Bell, KFC, McDonald's, Burger King, and Long John Silver's. The Top QSR Hamburger Sector includes such brands as Wendy’s, Sonic, McDonald’s, A&W, White Castle, In ‘n’ Out, Carl’s Jr. and Krystal.
YouGov BrandIndex measurement scores range from 100 to -100 and are compiled by subtracting negative feedback from positive. A zero score means equal positive and negative feedback.
Burger King’s buzz score declined from 19 on Tuesday, July 17th down to 4 on Friday the 20th, marking a drop of 15 points in a few days. By comparison, Domino’s fell from 20 to -1 in the same time span when its controversial YouTube video appeared, a drop of 21 points. Domino’s didn’t return to the 20 mark until a few weeks later.