Domino’s makeover strategy: smart or suicidal?

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Domino’s Pizza recently launched a makeover campaign in the US with a ballsy premise: admitting that their product was not good enough. The ‘Pizza Turnaround‘ showcases actual consumers who comment Domino’s Pizza  ‘tastes like cardboard’ and it’s the ‘worst excuse for pizza I’ve ever had’. Ouch. It doesn’t feel good to hear such brutally honest feedback. In a campaign created by Crispin Porter + Bogusky, they decided to fix this problem by creating a new product.

Is this strategy smart of suicidal? I think it’s good for a company to be honest & transparent. That comes with riders,though. Over at the website they display all the tweets about the promotion – including the negative ones.

Has anyone tried the new Dominos Pizza? Is it any less shitty than before?

@dominos #newpizza Dumping handfuls of hot pepper into the sauce does NOT make it tastier, just more painful to eat. Won’t be back.

Another positive aspect is that it forces the consumer to re-think the brand – give it one more chance. On the flip side consumers are likely to wonder what took the company so long to figure out they were making a dud product. What made them listen to consumers all of a sudden? Also, if the new product still doesn’t come up to scratch, it is perhaps the last time a potential consumer would try the product. My hunch is that consumers will try the new product out of sheer curiosity – timing of the confession be damned. I think consumers tend to respond positively to a brand admitting that they fell below expectations and are making amends.

How well this risky strategy will pay off remains to be seen. Any thoughts?

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  1. Thanks for providing valuable information through this medium..
    i think in this era consumers are more mature and aware about the environment. If brand is communicating honestly, then they will respond to it in same manner..
    it will favor domino because domino is well known and trusted brand all over the world and US.. when such big brand is talking in frank way people will definitely try it…
    but the other part is, if domino will not keep up for expectations then it will definitely lose the credibility… the loss of credibility is hard to tackle…
    one more thing… such strategy should be adopted as one of the last option… may be they did it little early.

    • Priyank, thanks for dropping by and the comment. I guess something drastic had to be done to overcome consumer apathy towards the brand. Interesting to see if it works.

  2. Sriram Iyer Reply

    Hey couldn’t it be also of consumer perception. Generally speaking – A brand that has made a mistake then says ‘I’m sorry’ and rectifies the mistake is valued more than say a brand that never has made a mistake.

    Consumer psychologically may be? “Oh they now know how bad their product is, and are acknowledging that fact.” So, later on when they say – we’ve improved or we’ve gotten better – consumers might believe they’re frank and have actually improved.

  3. vivek kamath Reply

    whoever said it tasted like cardboard must have eaten the box. that said, ’30 minutes or free’ never promised a great pizza, just timely delivery.

  4. Interesting story… thanks for the post. Makes me think of the new ad for Brand Equity where the copy reads “PR is the new advertising”.

    Can’t think of a better way to deal with such widespread criticism than saying, “Thanks for telling us we suck. Now we’ll get better.” That said, if they do over-commit and still have their pizzas taste like cardboard, then that’s really just that.

  5. i really didnt think dominoes was so bad! by hearing such "negative" statements, atleast i felt good that i really didnt get that bad a pizza after all!

    but who can deny the great amount of sympathy they'll get for this advertising move! love it!

  6. That's a move in the right direction. The important part here is the quality of video production.
    In India we have to really improve the video production standards to implement a campaign like this.

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