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January 2010


Atlanta Marketing Agency | ALR Marketing Solutions

Hi Laura, I agree. I also believe that Domino’s should focus on the pizza and less on expanding their menu of offerings… After all they are Domino’s Pizza. The last time I ate at Domino’s I tried their Philly Cheese-steak sandwich. I ordered it with an open mind… but came to the conclusion that I should stick with Philly Connection for that type of food. Who by the way doesn’t serve pizza.

Sean McNamara

Sorry Laura but I couldn't disagree more with your stance. The campaign was developed by Crispin Porter and Bogusky for those who were wondering. Domino's campaign is a perfect example of building a relationship with their customers. While other chains like McDonald's show no transparency, Dominoes is showing that they actually care about what people think. And instead of lying to us and claiming their products are made with decent ingredients, they are actually DOING what they claim and making their product with better ingredients. What's not to like about a company actively trying to make their product better? Read "Baked In" I think you will have a better understanding of their marketing strategy.

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We are great fan of dominos. The quality provided by the dominos is just outstanding.


i would like to see how the recipe for there pizza has changed over the years. the cardboard position didnt occur overnight. dominos should take their customer back to the beginning. tell the brand story, talk about the original recipe (if they must). they dont have the time, meaning the customers attention span, to convince people of how great the new pizza is. confused minds do not buy.

Lawyer Marketing




I agree that pointing out negatives in part of your brand line doesn't make sense. If their pizza is so bad and they had to change EVERYTHING, how does that extend to the ingredients they put in their sandwiches?

I also think that Pepsi's "Throwback" campaign is laced with some of the same problems.



Sorry Laura,

Yeah, this may be some foodie equivalent of greenwashing but it did a pretty good job of changing my perceptions 180 degrees. Something that (If I recall correctly) is a pretty risky thing to try with a brand.

All the best,


Stephen Denny

Laura, let me agree with many here. The hurled conclusions you've presented in the above rant leave me scratching my head.

Dominos wasn't facing a crisis. No controversy over their quality. They simply decided to make a better product - and tell you about it. Like Starbucks shutting down for a day to retrain their staffs across the country, they brought our attention to their attention to quality. As #2 nationwide, they didn't have a problem - they just had a mission to surpass expectations.

Dominos is a giant. They compete against other giants as well as small, artisan shops. They can't beat the artisans at premium quality because that's not the business they're in - they are in the business of supply chain optimization, not pepperoni. This shouldn't be a shock to anyone either.

This is excellent work. Good for Dominos. Good on their CEO for doing what good CEO's do.

Go talk to the man and ask him the rationale behind the campaign, the degree of satisfaction or dissatisfaction over quality that led to this initiative. You'll learn a lot.

S. Denny

 Anxiety And Depression

why? what happen? why domino's need to Apologize


I agree in general, but the line, "Sure, Domino’s needed to work on its quality, consistency, flavor and taste. But not all at once." is the dumbest thing I've ever read.

Philip Franckel Lawyer Advertising Blog

Hi Laura,

I thoroughly enjoyed your article and completely agree. The people at Domino's should have read your books!

I am working on trying to start the next pizza franchise with a very strong brand. I have been saying for the last six months that Domino's marketing and brand strategy is atrocious and the worst in the industry. I've said everything you wrote your article, and much more, but people have thought I'm crazy because Domino's is so successful. Now I can show that you agree with me.

I know a few easy marketing changes, without changing the product, that would substantially increase Domino's brand awareness and revenue. However, I'm using my ideas for my own brand.

Stone Age Brands

Check out what Washington Post said about Domino's strategy. Another employee, who appears near tears, reads another review: " 'The sauce tastes like ketchup.' " This is a way to win customers?

Domino's is stupid to apologize for cardboard pizza, because they're admitting to failure. We'll do better is the same as "we're number 2, because we try harder"-Avis, is just a desperate marketing attempt to draw sympathy and attention away from competitors.

Nobody likes a loser who whines about being a loser (as far as losing in bad taste). Listerine admitted to tasting terrible, but used it to their advantage, "the taste you love to hate." Consumers like when brands confess a disadvantage, but never act defeated or make yourself look as if you're lower than the competition. Act like the underdog, like Listerine did against Scope which tasted better, because the majority roots for the underdog when they can make fun at their own bad taste.

Selling sub sandwiches was their downfall, not cardboard pizza taste. Brand extension! People who can afford Domino's like in low income neighborhoods, penny pinchers and ordering for cheap parties, or children (beggars can't be choosy) should be their focus.

Customers who enjoyed the cardboard taste don't want to change that flavor. In the consumer mind, better pizza is an expensive pizza, like a cheap brand made into a luxury brand- it must cost more money is the perception. Domino's is cheap pizza category (cheap price-cheap taste).

Papa John's owns the better flavor category. Domino's owns the cheap category.

What Domino's should admit for a marketing stunt, is that "we may not be the best tasting pizza on the planet, but we won't apologize for being the best cheapest pizza on the planet. Staying cheap is why our customers like us."



"Domino's should apologize." "Harry Reid should resign." "Somebody other than me should do something because I say so."

Enough already.

Robert Beadle

I agree that Domino's went wrong with this campaign. You can see my thoughts in detail on my most recent blog post, "Domino’s Strikes Out with New Cardboard Pizza Ad."

I approached it from the angle of "never restate the negative"



This is a campaign. They found new ingredients at a lower price and someone was bright enough to say "Hey, how about this angle..."

Has anyone tasted the 'new improved product' yet?

"Dartastic #newpizza just tastes like they took their old one and slathered Papa John's garlic butter all over the crust. Kinda icky."

Reviews I have seen on pizzaturnaround have been mixed - and for some reason I don't trust any positive reviews. (Wonder why?)

Saddest part of all this - the majority of Twitter comments on their site are about the 'amazing use of social media'.

Hmmm, mouth watering!


I agree with your point on branding - Domino's shouldn't be insulting its long-time customers, and they're obviously copying Papa John's with their emphasis on better ingredients.

However, have you tried the new Domino's pizza? They put garlic butter on the crust - it's simply amazing!!!


Hi Laura! Word is bomb! it's a tough one though. It would be interesting to know the rational behind this change. I highly doubt it is because of consumer complaints. a more plausible reason would be so they can take on premium brands like Papa John's who cleverly flanked them in their positioning strategy. that i can believe. and this marketing angle would make sense that it came from non-brand centric folk.


Laura, I agree.

Domino's situation was also compounded by the fact that they went to sandwiches, wings and pasta bowls and not on pizza innovation.

If they wanted to attack a premium pizza market, a better way to go would be to launch a new brand touting premium ingredients, just like McDonald's did with their nugget-to-chicken selects trade-up.

That way, dedicated customers can have their old standard and new customers can try the premium version without the baggage.

Michelle Moore

Amen, for most of this... There is, though, a "conspiracy theory" about the New Coke debacle. With sugar prices soaring after several bad hurricane seasons in the Caribbean, some of us who actually embraced ORIGINAL Coke for its flavor noticed that Coke Classic was NOT the original formula, (which was made with sugar, not corn syrup). There was speculation that Coca-cola didn't want to upset the status quo and just change their formula, so a deliberately bad-tasting New Coke was introduced so people would love going back to Coke Classic, which was quietly sporting corn syrup sweeteners instead of sugar.

What's amusing about this is that Pepsi has launched "Throwback" Pepsi, made with sugar. Dr. Pepper, which was once a PepsiCo brand but is now a Coca-Cola brand, produces a sugar-made version here in Texas called Dublin Dr. Pepper that people pay primo bucks for. It's odd that Coke can't take a lesson from its own subsidiary and make REAL OLD COKE WITH SUGAR for those of us who have never liked the drink since the New Coke catastrophe and might b willing to pay 50 cents a can more to get THE REAL THING... sometimes it is about the taste.

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