How Marie Callender’s Ruined Thanksgiving and Boosted Their Brand

Thanksgiving is over, and the leftovers are gone, but the Internet has not forgotten a specific angry customer and the Pie That Ruined Thanksgiving (hereafter referred to as TPTRT).

BAD REVIEW GONE WRONG

If you haven’t already read about this pie, here’s the scoop:

Sharon Weiss put Marie Callender’s on blast via social media, claiming that the brand had “ruined” Thanksgiving dessert.

So, did the Internet community gather up sympathy to rally around Ms. Weiss? Not quite.

Kill Them With Kindness

While the brand could have snapped back defensively, Marie Callender’s decided to take the high road. They politely replied in the comments: “We’re really sorry to hear our Pumpkin Pie let you down this year. We’d like to get in touch so we can hear more and help.” The brand displayed a genuine concern for their customer, and most of the other replies weren’t as, well, kind.

Attention-Grabbing

Although Sharon Weiss has garnered a lot of attention recently, Marie Callender’s has seen even more of a spike in interest over time since November 25th.

From Newsweek to author Jenny Lawson, everyone weighed in on the Great Pie Controversy of 2021. Several Facebook groups have cropped up lampooning the post, including “What in the Sharon Weiss is going on here??!” and “Marie Callender’s Sharon Pie Roasting Posting.” A new holiday (Marie Callender’s Pie Exoneration Day) was even born, when Marie Callender fans and pie enthusiasts band together to “redeem” Marie Callender’s by baking the perfect frozen pie.

The Takeaway

So, what can we learn from Sharon Weiss, Marie Callender, and TPTRT? For one, a brand must accept criticism and be able to respond to it gracefully. By replying to Sharon’s post in an authentic and empathic way, they demonstrated their commitment to providing a positive customer experience.

Also, as they used to say, “all press is good press.” While this isn’t entirely true, it certainly seems to apply in this situation. A burnt pie and an upset customer are leading to a potential brand resurgence. Who’d have thought?

Finally, there’s something to be said to allow the conversation to develop organically. Marie Callender’s could have gotten defensive, or they could have shut down the comments, in turn ending the discussion. Instead, they allowed it to run naturally, and it couldn’t have turned out more in their favor.

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