Who’d have thought a vegan sausage roll could cause so much outrage and hilarity on social media – and increase profits so much?!
Launching on social media on January 2nd 2019, Greggs responded to consumer pressure to create a vegan sausage roll after a petition signed by over 20,000 people. So far, so good.
The scathing reaction was swift from Piers Morgan and obviously anticipated by Gregg’s team as the put down was immediate – and beautifully put. They rode the following fierce debates well and gave us a masterclass in how to ride a social media crisis storm.
The resulting ding-dong battle drove engagement on social media, with many non-vegans saying they would be buying a vegan sausage roll just to upset Piers Morgan and other people criticising the brand. As Roger Whiteside, the CEO, said:
“Awareness of the brand has never been higher”.
Profits benefited too, with 25,000 staff sharing a £7M bonus in January 2020 after a “phenomenal year’.
Doing the right thing for your consumer base, even if it triggers a social media crisis, can be highly beneficial for business. It just has to be handled correctly.