Karen’s PR & Social Media Blog

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May 14, 2013

A Reputation Catastrophe Online & Offline: Amy’s Bakery & Kitchen Nightmare Episode

I thought I saw it all when it came to how brands would respond to customer reviews and interactions on social media.  Well, now I have seen one example that really surprised me from a crisis and social media perspective.

With Amy’s Baking Company in Arizona, I think they have set a whole new standard to how not to respond to online criticism via Facebook.  Here’s their Facebook page if you want to check this out for yourself. Buzzfeed gave a detailed account on the various posts, social media updates, and interactions the bakery had with others on Facebook in their article as well. Consumerist also highlighted this particular case as well on their page with some updates as well.

It all came up due to being on Gordon Ramsey’s famous reality TV show called “Kitchen Nightmares” and this actually was the first time that the well-known chef actually quit the show – which was pretty surprising in its 82 episode history. There are two videos from the show related to this business on this website as well or can watch the full episode here.

What we are seeing here is a translation from behavior offline and it is happening online – and the reputational damage for both of these cases is huge.

There are many issues here to look at with this case, but what has escalated a already tense situation on the show to a whole other level is the behavior displayed via social.  This case has become viral and everyone – from traditional media to crisis communication professionals – has started commenting, sharing, and disseminating this information across multiple platforms and channels online.

I’ve seen many crisis situations emerging from brands online, but this one I think takes the cake as being the most extreme one I’ve seen in my years working in social media and crisis communications.

I think Gordon Ramsey handled himself appropriately in the show and you could see his emotion that he wanted to help this business, but he couldn’t help people that didn’t want help. What is shocking about the clips from the show and what is being played out online is the fact that this is behavior that is displayed publicly – so we have to wonder what happens when there is no filming crew or interactions online.

Hope you all are having a great day.

Best Wishes,

Karen

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