Domino's Pizza boosts sales with direct campaign: DMA All For One

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Domino's Pizza improved same-store sales growth by 9.9% in 2010 compared with 0.5% in 2009 with the launch of the pizza delivery company's “Oh Yes We Did” marketing campaign, said Russell Weiner, CMO of Domino's. The brand also received top honors in a consumer survey detailing the US's best-tasting pizza, Weiner said.

Domino's launched several TV ads and long-form commercials in 2010, depicting the company's recipe reinvention, which began in 2008 after Domino's placed sixth in a best-tasting pizza survey, explained Weiner at the Direct Marketing Association's All For One Event on June 21.

Prior to the marketing campaign, the brand spent two years creating a new pizza recipe by testing “scores and scores” of different combinations of cheeses, crusts, doughs and sauces, he said.

Once the company decided on the a new recipe, it brought in advertising agency Crispin Porter & Bogusky (CP&B) to help bring the new pie to market.

Weiner said CP&B began a process to merge Domino's brand tension with the cultural tension surrounding the recession.

“This was 2009,” he explained. “Politicians were lying. Banks were going out of business. Consumers wanted someone to be honest and tell them the truth.”

The campaign features several different commercials that each highlight one stage of the company's recipe transformation.

The original spot depicts actual Domino's employees candidly discussing problems with the brand's original recipe. “This sauce tastes like ketchup,” says one employee. “This is void of flavor,” says another. Regarding the new recipe, an employee states, “We're so proud of this pizza, we want everybody to try it.”

Tony Calcao, VP and group creative director of CP&B, said the agency and Domino's both agreed the campaign should not end with a spot that served only as an introduction to the new recipe.

“We had to prove we were listening and transparent,” said Calcao. “When you went to the Domino's website, you saw a long form documentary, a four-minute piece that went more in-depth about the new pizza. We also had a real-time Twitter feed for what was going on. The only moderation we did was for profanity.”

The long-form commercial depicted four different consumers that had been critical of the old recipe in focus groups. Each of the consumers is brought a slice of the new pizza by Domino's head chef. The commercial documents their responses as they take their first bites.

The second step of the campaign featured a commercial urging consumers to send in photography of Domino's pizza via Facebook and Twitter. The company posted glamorous and unflattering portraits of its pies. Consumers whose shots were selected were given cash prizes.

Domino's turned the photos into a third spot featuring Domino's CEO Patrick Doyle. In the spot, Doyle holds up unflattering photos and says, “We aren't going to deliver pizzas like this anymore.”

The fifth stage of the campaign featured a spot in which consumers are secretly brought to the farms where Domino's ingredients are grown. The consumers unknowingly sit in a fake focus group room when the room's walls are lifted up and the consumers are revealed to be in a farm.

Domino's recently launched a new, similar campaign detailing the transformation of its chicken recipes. Consumers are asked to tweet or post to Facebook, detailing their approval or disapproval of Domino's chicken. In the spot, Domino's chicken chef says, “Imagine if your boss had your performance rated in front of the entire country.”

“Through all the ads our price point didn't change,” Weiner said. “We kept the offer and continue to have it out. We know we have a good offer. By keeping it the same, we can spend the time in the ads talking about our brand. If your ads are always about the new price, you can't talk about the brand.”

When asked if he faced any internal backlash by launching such a controversial campaign, Weiner said, “The Art of War says if you're fighting on an island, the best thing to do is blow up the bridge so your troops can't retreat, and they'll fight to the death. We blew up the bridge.”

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