Ingenious Marketing Strategy or Insane?

If you watch TV, you’ve seen the ad. Domino’s chefs are experimenting with a matrix of combinations of cheese, dough and spices — anything to counter some of the negative criticism that’s come their way.

Domino’s reads some actual customer quotes, which are designed to make any television viewer’s eyebrows lurch upward: “Domino’s pizza crust, to me, is like cardboard.” And: “The sauce tastes like ketchup.” according to a story at AOL Small Business.

Then, of course, Domino’s explains that they’ve reinvented their pizza — thrown out their old rule book and made something completely new. But is it a clever idea, or a little insane? Because no matter what, they are trashing their own pizza, something that’s made Domino’s literally a household name.

“The Domino’s campaign is brilliant,” says David N. Finley, director of communications at Chapman University School of Law in Orange, California. “First of all, it captured my attention — no small feat in today’s media-saturated world. Second, it’s honest, sincere and novel, and [the ad] is also very funny.

“Finally, as a consumer, I can relate to the message — I understand the criticism about Domino’s product, which to me has traditionally been a bland, low-quality product. To reinvent themselves, it is necessary to address their poor image head on, so they can then give credibility to their proposed changes — in this case, the new recipe. I’m not sure yet whether this campaign is working, but I predict it will be a success.”

Paul Kurnit, professor marketing at Pace University, also feels the Domino’s move was a smart one. “In general, trashing one’s products is a bad and dangerous idea,” says Kurnit (in other words, kids, don’t usually try this at home). “The risk is that the customer gets an idea that at some point, some aspect of the product was inferior. Shame on the marketer. Why would you ever take something less than excellent to the marketplace?

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