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Woolworths turns negative social media feedback into positive PR

Posted by on 30 Jan 2015

Late last year Woolworths gave us a great (and humorous) example of how negative feedback received via social media can be turned into a positive for your brand.

A Woolworths customer and Facebook user, identified as ‘Ryan Goodall’, posted the below picture on Woolworths’ Facebook page with the following feedback:

Dear Woolworths,
Here I was having a good time with my mates, just sitting around eating some steak and brocoli (which i got from you guys), when i decided oh i know what would turn my average everyday meal into a extra creamy mouthful of meaty sensation (no homo). A perfectly ripen avocado! As i cut into the strange shaped food my eyes quickly changed from having a certain spark of hope and desire in them, into holding nothing but disappointment and despair.
As you can see from the picture below, the avocados i bought tonight are not really living up to the whole 'Woolworths the fresh food people' idea. I am not calling you guys liars but if you guys have a slogan maybe you should live upto it.

P.s. I want you to know I am not angry, I am just disappointed.

Figure 1: Ryan Goodall's picture of the offending avocados posted on Facebook.

The Woolworths team wasted no time if posting the following response:

Ryan the Disappointment is more than we can bare! Private message us your number and we will hook a brother up.

Figure 2: The replacement avocados and praise for Woolworths

The team responsible for maintaining Woolworths’ social media accounts were applauded for their prompt and funny response to what could have been a fiasco for the ’fresh food people’.  Whilst the avocado incident had potential to start a wave of negative complaints about consumer’s disappointing experiences with fresh produce thereby causing substantial damage to the overall brand, the light hearted and to the point response triggered a domino of applause.  Some consumers even went as far as creating humorous memes in honour of Woolworths’ tact in dealing with the complaint.  The initial post was received close to 35,000 likes and over 2,500 shares.


Figure 3: Woolworths memes

Figure 4: Praise from Woolworths customers

This incident demonstrates that receiving negative feedback on social media doesn’t have to be a disaster.  Rather, it can be a great opportunity to connect with your customer base and actually enhance your brand. 

Who knows, maybe Woolies will change its slogan from ‘the Fresh Food People’ to ‘Hooking brothers up.’

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