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When Viral Video Bites Back - Golden Corral's PR Nightmare

Posted by Artisan on Aug 8, 2013 6:00:00 PM
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Golden Corral's PR Nightmare

Public relations crises are nothing new, but all-you-can-eat food chain Golden Corral’s latest PR nightmare seems to have upped the ante on the blowback that can occur when the wrong kinds of videos go viral.

Recently, an employee of the restaurant posted a video on YouTube showing racks of cooked food being stored outside beside garbage dumpsters in anticipation of an inspection.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKXrL5syc_s

Within short time, the video had hit Reddit's front page and gone viral – reaching more than three million views to date – and suddenly Golden Corral was faced with the worst possible kind of publicity- a true PR nightmare!

In answer to the charges leveled by the restaurant employee, who claimed that this practice was nothing new, the restaurant chain fired back saying that the food that had been moved outdoors was all disposed of. But by then, the damage to the restaurant’s reputation had already been done.

The Golden Corral incident is reminiscent of a handful of recent viral videos that have shaken the restaurant chain world. About a month prior to the Golden Corral video, another video from a different restaurant went viral for equally disgusting reasons. A video taken by Taco Bell employees showed one of them licking taco shells that were eventually served to customers. The trend seems to have got its start in 2009, in the now infamous Domino’s Pizza viral video scandal.

So what’s the lesson to be learned here? Never to eat at a restaurant again? Certainly not. Most people who work at restaurant chains will tell you that this kind of behavior, and such questionable incidents as the Golden Corral debacle, are rare. But if you operate a company that’s interested in leveraging the power of internet video marketing to boost your brand’s visibility, there are quite a few things to be gleaned here.

The number one lesson is that not all publicity is good publicity. As has been evidenced by the aforementioned viral video scandals, a single video of less than three minutes in length posted by an anonymous individual to a free video sharing site like YouTube can undo years of positive publicity.

This doesn’t mean that fostering a trustworthy image through quality web video production and other social media methods are a waste of time. If anything, having a virtual online library of funny and inventive videos aimed at developing your company brand are very important and could work like a defensive arsenal if your company ever falls victim to negative publicity.

When all else fails, having a damage control plan in place is vital to surviving the kind of negative publicity that can be drummed up by a single viral video. Accomplishing this is not necessarily easy. To do this, a company has to constantly monitor its online standing. This is done by reviewing all mentions of its brand that are posted online, including the various social networking platforms and endless variety of discussion groups. Some of these can be done automatically simply by setting search engine notifications. Others may require a more hands-on approach that could necessitate the hiring of additional personnel. Just remember, taking these steps won’t necessarily stop a bad situation from taking place, but learning about a bad situation early on can enable immediate action so that steps can be taken to mitigate bad P.R.

Running positive internet video marketing campaigns often requires the hand of a professional who is capable of not only delivering a superior end product, but who knows how to market to the widest possible audiences. At Artisan Talent, we can put you in touch with highly skilled and experienced video marketing professionals who can be hired on a short term or per-job basis. Contact us today to learn more and to avoid a potential PR nightmare.

Vince F is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.

Tags: News

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