We had a whole list of brand fails primed and ready to go for this blog, but over the weekend, a local brand demonstrated first hand a massive, “holy what, they did that?” brand failure. So, we scrapped what we had to focus on the hot mess happening on the Alpine Fricano’s Pizza Facebook page.
It all started with a sign
The Fricano family really, really, really wants you to know they are Trump supporters. Earlier this month, Ted Fricano thought it would be a swell idea to slap a giant Trump sign on top of the Fricano’s Place building in Muskegon. Previously, the sign had been on the lawn, but it wasn’t visible enough. So, up to the roof it went! Unfortunately, the sign’s new home went against city zoning laws and had to be taken off the roof.
We haven’t seen the last of the Fricano family
Over in Grand Rapids, Doug Fricano hunkered down to give West Michigan liberals a piece of his mind on his business’ Facebook page, where followers were treated to rambling, incoherent word vomit.
Instead of describing it further, we’ll just let you have a peek.
What is this alphabet soup you are throwing on the internet? Why is this important to your brand, your business and your customers? Answer: it’s not. If you are a business owner, focus on your industry. Pizza and politics only mix if you are a journalist on election night. That’s where it begins and ends. In fact, brands should never be vocal about their political stance. Politics will always be partisan, so when endorsing a candidate or going on a political tirade on a business page, brands need to think about the huge group of people they are alienating and the business lost as a result.
Did Doug think about this after the hundreds of comments on his first post? Unfortunately, no. He doubled down with another post at 1:46 a.m. Sunday.
This isn’t the first time a West-Michigan brand decided to mix food with its freedom of speech. In 2015, Brann’s Steakhouse and Grille banned Michael Moore and Seth “Rogan” from its Wyoming location. The ban was a response to Moore and Rogen’s comments about the film American Sniper. Like the Fricano family, owner and Gettysburg Address fan Tommy Brann went on a political rampage, which was picked up nationally. Brann, who read Chris Kyle’s autobiography, told The Huffington Post that if Kyle were still alive, he would “handle Michael Moore in a minute.”
The lesson: keep to your brand and never mess with pizza
Pizza is a great unifier. Have you ever met a person who does not like pizza? It’s impossible. Pizza is the eighth world wonder. It’s the Holy Grail, the Force and the One Food to rule them all. Politics, on the other hand, will forever tear us apart. When you add a heaping topping of politics to a pizza, that’s when you mess with nature’s delicate balance. Instead of concentrating on providing a great pizza to customers, Fricano’s instead succeeded in insulting customers. So while you might think it’s a good idea to unapologetically stand for your beliefs through your business’ social media page, remember that IT IS A TERRIBLE IDEA. Not only are you alienating customers, but your beliefs represent the hardworking staff you employ. Don’t piss off your staff and customers, so keep the political rants to your own personal page.
Can Fricano’s recover? Absolutely, but it requires an apology and admitting you are at fault. We won’t hold our breath.