Descendants of the Ssamjeang: Domino's positive take on Korean celeb divorce

Shortly after Durex tickled netizens with the Hokkien wordplay of the Korean surname "Song", Domino's Pizza Malaysia seized the opportunity to show off its wit once again and promote its latest Ssamjeang pizzas.

In a Facebook post following news of the divorce between South Korean celebrities Song Hye-kyo and Song Joong-ki, Domino's posted a picture of a soldier offering the Ssamjeang pizza to a female with the words "Descendants of the Ssamjeang" above them. The picture was inspired by the promotional poster used for the popular South Korean TV drama Descendants of the Sun, which both Song Hye-kyo and Song Joong-ki starred in three years ago.

The post was also captioned: "Missing your favourite Korean couple and binging on that good ol' K-Drama over the weekend? Why not order in and gush over your favourite oppa and our spicy Ssamjeang pij-jas?"

Done by digital agency 16TWO, the post garnered 776 reactions, 166 comments and 101 shares at the time of writing. Netizen reactions online were mainly positive, with many praising Domino's for its witty marketing. Meanwhile, a handful of netizens said Domino's should not have leveraged on a private matter for marketing purposes.

When asked how Domino's and the team decide which social trends to jump on, 16TWO's ECD Danny Wahab told A+M in a statement that it is usually a collaborative effort between the client and the agency. As such, both parties have teams that closely monitor trending topics on a daily basis, scanning the internet for those that have already gone viral or will potentially gain traction.

"With our aim to develop real time content that best resonates with our audience, increases shareability and generate maximum organic reach, the speed of execution in a crucial element," he said.

According to Wahab, the team was quick to get wind of the divorce between the two South Korean celebrities. Instead of playing up the divorce, Wahab and his team decided to put a positive spin to the situation and relate the news to its current national campaign "So Spicy So Drama, Ssamjeang". The strategy worked, Wahab said, and the numbers for both reach and engagement "have been very encouraging".

Wahab told A+M that the process for most of the other real-time content posts are similar. He added:

Once trending topics are identified, it is usually approved within the hour and the creatives will immediately spring into action.

In May, Domino's jumped on the hype surrounding Maxis and its employee Larni on social media. Maxis was unwittingly dragged into a social media gaffe when a tweet sent out under the name of its employee caught the eyes of netizens in Malaysia.

A screenshot circulating online showed a tweet posted on Maxis Listens said that presumably an employee named Larni is “tired with the incapable manager – Alvin” and is “ready to be fired soon”. The tweet also urged followers to take a screenshot of the tweet, and reshare it, in case it gets deleted. The individual behind the tweet allegedly identified herself as Larni Bharatan, Maxis social media team lead. In a tweet, Domino’s said there is #SoSpicySoDrama happening online and would like to offer Larni the opportunity to join its social media team as it appreciates her “spiciness”. The tweet then jokingly encouraged Larni to send a screenshot of her resume to its recruitment email.

(Read also: Descendants of the Sun shines bright for brands)