Domino’s: “We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us”

January 3rd, 2010 by admin Leave a reply »

In past posts I’ve railed against advertisers who take potshots at their competitors, but this will be the first time I’ve criticized an advertiser for taking a potshot at itself.

I’m still shaking my head after seeing a Domino’s commercial in which Domino’s employees admit that their customers have complained that their crust “tasted like cardboard” and their sauce “was like ketchup”. At first I assumed this was a Pizza Hut or Papa John’s commercial–which would have been bad enough–but when I realized it was a Domino’s commercial, you could have knocked me over with a lukewarm Cheesy Bread. To make matters worse, the cavalier way the employees make their admissions conveys a sense of, “Can you believe the kind of crap we’ve been serving you all these years? What were we thinking?”

When the commercial goes on to claim that Domino’s has seen the error of its ways, I found myself thinking, “Uh, you’ve been knowingly lying to me all these years about how wonderful your pizza is, and now you want me to believe you when you say you’ve greatly improved your quality?”

To be fair, the ad does go on to put its money where its mouth is by offering a special low price and a money-back guarantee. But I’d be a lot more anxious to give their new pizza a try if the first part of the commercial showed real people credibly raving about the product, or used some clever, creative communications that made we think, “Wow, that must be one great-tasting pizza!”

This Domino’s commercial reinforces two major rules about marketing:
1. Don’t ever admit that your product stinks.
2. Don’t ever market a product that stinks.

The good news is that if you obey the second rule, you’ll never have to worry about the first one.

1 comment

  1. Bob says:

    This actually worked for me…though admittedly I haven’t actually had any Domino’s pizza for probably 15 years (and I thought their pizza was just fine at the time). The sincere tone of the ad led me to believe that their pizza was now improved from some assumed decrease in quality that has occurred in the years since I last had it. For some reason a company willing to admit they screwed up and are now trying to make ammends finds a sympathetic ear with me (though it didn’t work when GM tried it several years back as I knew they weren’t doing enough different to make their cars truly better). But with a small purchase this approach would at least get me to give them a chance–ONE chance–to impress. And as I said, Domino’s hasn’t been on my radar screen for a long time but now they have made me curious to see if their product really is better. Whether that is enough to justify such a desperate campaign or not is beyond me.

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