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Pizza Joint Employs Conversational Jujitsu

By - March 07, 2009

This is priceless: (via Boing Boing)

At San Francisco’s Pizzeria Delfina, they know how to own their pain. Rather than wringing their hands over Internet sourpusses who give them one-star Yelp ratings, they’ve printed up tees with excerpts from the most scathing reviews (“This place sucks”) and given them to the staff to wear.

I call this practice “conversational jujitsu” – take the negative force of complaints, embrace them, and use them to your advantage. Just wait until really large companies start to do this. Then we’ll see remarkable change in this economy.

More as … I write the book.

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8 thoughts on “Pizza Joint Employs Conversational Jujitsu

  1. Can’t send you via twitter, so here it goes: according to Wikipedia in June 1836, French newspaper La Presse was the first to include paid advertising in its pages


  2. One other possible positive, if unintended consequence of this brand of Conversational Jujitsu, is that it might help to marginalize trollish content in general, while raising the whuffie value of thoughtful critiques. After all, we do want to be forewarned in cases where a product, place, or service is indeed subpar. Seems to me that if every brand were able to adopt some kind of Universal Newspeak PR Technique to undo the effectiveness of valid criticism, this would not necessarily be in the best interest of effective and meaningful #socialcognition in fostering higher quality information flows, therefore improving higher #cognosphere functioning and meatspace market efficiencies.

  3. Big companies have indeed already done this – I recall a poorly reviewed Rob Schneider movie that cited some of the nastier blurbs in their advertising.

    I suspect it’s a technique that works in few situations. Imagine a car manufacturer citing reviews of a car’s “poor performance” and “shoddy workmanship”?

  4. Van der Leun says:

    “Just wait until really large companies start to do this. Then we’ll see remarkable change in this economy.”

    John, you are a very smart man. So smart you might just want to, ah, “reconsider” that very, very odd assumption.

    Do you actually believe that massive marketing mea-culpas are going to make a dime’s worth of difference in the present situation. If so, see you on the breadline

  5. Bertil Hatt says:

    What happened to improving the services and having the users who left the scathing comments change their opinion? Does conversation have to be superficial?

    It’s an interesting take on the delivered pizza / slacker meme, but does this kind of trick has to apply only to business on the wrong side of a moral debate? (Fast food, drugs, guns & opinionated media).

  6. foo says:

    “Just wait until really large companies start to do this.”

    John Battelle just went full retard.

  7. @Van der Leun and @foo, thanks guys. But I don’t think I did a good job of explaining what I’m talking about. I don’t expect large companies to be asking their employees to wear tshirts. It’s something way larger. Stay tuned.

  8. Pete says:

    Another consequence of this kind of tactic is it shines a spotlight on sub-par peer review platforms. Nothing wrong with yelp exactly but it is very difficult to derive value from many of the reviews because they seem to be supporting another agenda. Positive reivews = the owner or waitstaff. Negative reviews = competitors. While not always true it is very often true.

    Facebook connect, open id or others will help further the conversation as it will attach a verified identity to a comment.