Thursday, January 14, 2010

Domino’s Pizza goes negative on itself

There’s an interesting story running in Slate this week about a new Domino’s Pizza campaign, in which Domino’s repeats its own customers’ negative feedback in ads about its new and improved recipe.

At the centre of the campaign is a four-minute documentary-style piece on YouTube, from which 30-second commercials have been made. It opens with negative tweets about Domino’s Pizza from real Twitter users, and goes on to show focus groups in which real tasters (i.e., actual focus group participants, not actors) offer bad review after bad review. The piece then covers how seriously Domino’s takes customer feedback, the process it went through to address its customers' complaints, and how its new product is better than ever.

If you look at the website for the new campaign, you’ll find this video, as well as a round-up of other coverage, including what looks like a live Twitter stream of tweets about Domino’s; it features tweets using the hashtags #newpizza and #dominos, as well as those including the profile @dominos and, as I wrote this blog entry, included both positive and negative reviews.

Multiple-choice question:

A company that’s willing to draw attention to its critics’ opinions must be:

a. Crazy
b. Not business savvy
c. Confident that it has fixed the problems

My answer is “c” – but if Domino’s isn’t confident the market is going to love this new pizza (or, at least, see it as an improvement), my answer changes to “a” and “b”. Domino’s’ customers had better think its pizza is markedly better than it was before, or the company will have a serious credibility gap to address.

Will this campaign get attention? Undoubtedly – and, as Beth Stevenson points out in the Slate article, likely more than a conventional “new and improved” campaign would have.

Is this approach unprecedented? No; as Paul Farhi points out in The Washington Post, other companies from GM to United Airlines and JetBlue – even this year’s Chicago Bears – have apologized for their own shortcomings in advertising.

Will it work? Only time – and how much better the pizza actually is – will tell.


  1. I have to admit to being majorly skeptical when I first watched it, curious the second time and down right eager to try Domino's on the third viewing.

    It really makes this giant company seem a lot more human. Its quite a clever campaign but I hope that they really have fixed their problems, other wise they're in for some major backlash.

  2. The best approach:

    Admit to people that you suck at the same time you pay other people to say how great you are.

    Not that I've ever done either!

  3. I saw that commercial and was blown away by it! A little light went off in my head screaming PR! PR!
    I thought it was pretty well done and really emphasized their commitement to customer satisfaction. I, for one, have always enjoyed their pizza, or maybe it's just pizza in general, but this campaign def. makes me want to try their new stuff!

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.