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Domino’s Turnaround builds up then destroys their pizza and brand

By now you have probably seen the new Domino’s Pizza campaign from Crispin Porter called The Pizza Turnaround where Domino’s monitored consumer comments about the brand on social media channels and according to this feedback they created new pizza recipes. Crispin did a great job with the TV spots and a slightly longer form documentary because it makes you want to give Dominos another chance.  My wife who is a serious foodie even turned to me on the couch the other night after one of the spots aired and said ‘I always hated Dominos but after that I would give them another chance.’ The advertising did everything you could have asked of it because it changed people’s opinions and created an intent for them to act on it. Pop the champaign, make room on the trophy wall and tell the client to increase the advertising budget because we have a winner… or do we?

I went to the campaign site today to dig around a little more before I wrote this post about how successful the campaign has been when that feeling and my intent to actually try the new Domino’s came crashing down around me.  On PizzaTurnaround.com you find the previously mentioned documentary, one news story and a Twitter feed that displays tweets with the tag #newpizza running down the right hand column. As you start to read down the column you quickly see that people’s love seemingly only extends to the campaign as I did not see one positive comment from anyone who actually tried the pizza. The first four found Tweets I read were “Tried the new Dominos pizza….. In my mind, collossal fail.”, “Meh it was ok…”, “im not feeling the new crust. i miss the old dominos.” and “not so great. Since when did “add more garlic/butter” = make things better?! Blech.”. That noise you hear is my intent to try the new product exiting stage left.

Using social media to give brand transparency to consumers can be a powerful tool but it has be used carefully and thought out to work correctly. In this case you are asking consumers to give your brand another chance and your advertising delivers that intent but it is a tenuous opportunity. From the time when you create that intent until the time when it gets paid off you can’t have any bumps in the road because the bond to the brand isn’t that strong yet. These Tweets are big bumps that are going to break that bond and kill the opportunity.  I don’t know why this site didn’t take it’s cues from the video it was supposed to support and MAKE IT A TWO WAY DIALOG!  Your video said you were listening to consumers and you were responding so why did that stop once the campaign launched? It makes the video feel like just an advertising stunt and that the brand really isn’t listening. You have a chance here to be transparent and let people post their thoughts BUT Domino’s has to be part of the conversation. They have to address these comments and not let them destroy what they are trying to build. It is the only way this is going to go from a quick fix to a real long term solution that will restore their business.

1 Comment

  1. Stephen Gates

    January 15, 2010 at 4:02 am

    A few more developments on this story today.

    First thanks to @jackbremer who noticed it looks like they’re no longer simply posting the Twitter feed of #newpizza – http://bit.ly/5i3vty compared to http://bit.ly/4xpWHU

    Second is that this clearly got Domino’s attention as they are now following me on Twitter and got the follow message from them “Read your article, I’m sorry you feel that way, but we are maintaining constant communication with customers on both Twitter & FB.”

    I responded with my feeling that “No need to apologize. Just think keeping those talks private is a mistake as your product gets trashed & you lose potential sales.”

    They did point out they they are publicly responding to some people on their Facebook page but not Twitter. I went to look into this and on their Fan Page I saw where on the entire page they had responded to one person who posted “what site can i go to and order the old pizza?” and their response was “What about the old pizza are you wanting to order?”.

    Like I said in response to them, my feelings remain the same that they are really missing an opportunity here because I can’t find any meaningful conversations with their customers and it’s coming at the cost of their brand, product and potential sales.

    Curious for your thoughts so if you have any feel free to weigh in.

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Creative Director, Designer, Brand Builder, Speaker, Podcaster, Crazy One. As a designer, I have 20+ years experience creating the strategy, concepts, and designs for award-winning integrated global advertising campaigns, building multiple global Fortune 500 brands and creating innovative digital experiences. As a leader, I have 15+ years transforming agency and client-side teams using a mix of creativity, business strategy, process and political skill to create innovative, world-class work and cultures that change industries and companies. My clients have included American Airlines, W Hotels, Disney, Citi, ExxonMobil, Acura, Old Navy, Nationwide Insurance, Verizon, Subaru and many others. My work has received over 150 international awards, my app designs have been named as one of the World’s 100 Greatest Apps, Apple has featured my work in 9 keynotes, 4 TV commercials and more.

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