If you've ever watched a sitcom, any sitcom, you probably remember the episode where Character 1 overheard Character 2 say something completely innocuous, which led to a hilarious misunderstanding because, out of context, C1 became convinced that C2 was up to no good.
Or maybe you remember the episode where the exact opposite happened: Character 1 said something serious and important, which Character 2 misunderstood and treated as a joke, which led to a hilarious misunderstanding possibly followed by some important life lessons.
The moral of that sitcom episode is: if you only hear a tiny snippet of a conversation, don't make any assumptions based on that snippet alone.
Unfortunately, it appears that whoever handles Twitter marketing for DiGiorno frozen pizza never learned that lesson, which led to a not-hilarious misunderstanding this week.
You had pizza
The Baltimore Ravens fired their former running back, Ray Rice, after security video emerged of Rice punching his then-fiancee in a casino elevator. The story has inspired several national discussions about the problem of domestic violence. One of those discussions, on Twitter, involved former victims of domestic violence sharing their stories under the respective hashtags #WhyILeft or #WhyIStayed.
On Monday evening, someone at DiGiorno's corporate Twitter account presumably noticed that #WhyIStayed was trending, and decided to join in the conversation before determining exactly what is was about, by tweeting a full-color marketing photograph of a pizza alongside the words “#WhyIStayed You had pizza.”
The tweet inspired instant outrage, and only stayed up for a few minutes before DiGiorno took it down. To the company's credit, it immediately took responsibility for the blunder and tweeted: “A million apologies. Did not read what the hashtag was about before posting.” The next day, DiGiorno tweeted: “We heard from many of you, and we know we disappointed you. We understand, and we apologize to everyone for this mistake.”
As of presstime, those two apologetic tweets remain the most recent ones on the DiGiorno feed @DiGiornoPizza.
And, in all fairness, the company handled its mistake as well as anyone possibly could have: it offered a prompt, straightforward apology rather than a typical corporate PR responsibility-avoiding non-apology of the “Mistakes were made, sorry if we offended anyone” variety.