Learn more about Sustainable Brands 2015 San Diego

truth in advertising

Domino's to Pizza-Lovers: Can You Handle the Truth?

Posted by Abe Sauer on July 8, 2010 11:00 AM

Six months ago we wondered if the Dominos rebrand was being too honest, asking, "Is this level of openness admirable? Sure. Is it stupid? Perhaps."

Turns out it wasn't so stupid after all. By March Domino's sales were way up. By May, same-store sales rose 14.3%. Now July sees the chain's stock up following rosy projections about continuing sales.

So is Domino's going back to business as usual? Will the brand continue down the road of self-improvement, fashioning itself a brand of excellence?

No. It's going to burn it down. Burn it all down.

Emboldened by the (perceived) success of their "just tell it like it is" campaign, Domino's is taking a page from Wikileaks and blowing the whistle on pizza advertising. In its latest effort to be more transparent and truthful with customers, it's pulling back the curtain on all the sly tricks pizza brands pull to improve the look of their products (above).

Adios, food stylists — Domino's is cutting the cheese and doesn't need "all those silly tricks they use in fancy photo shoots."

And, of course, what would any Dove-like "Be Real" campaign be without a user-generated crowd-sourced photo gallery? Not real, that's what! It's also inspiring other fast food brands like Chipotle to trim the spin from their marketing.

Domino's was smart and lucky with its first push, because it was specific to its own brand. Domino's was basically apologizing for making a crappy product, promising to do better, and begging consumers to give the brand another try. It has heart, it was sincere, and it was focused.

Domino's has missed the point entirely about why its original campaign was so attractive. Six months ago, the competition the brand was singling out was itself.

Now however, Domino's appears to have forgotten the point of the "be real" approach was inner-focused, about truly challenging its own brand. While the campaign's message aims to be one of alternative advertising, of going against what everyone else is doing, it's really just the same old thing: "We rule. They suck!"


Damien Netherlands says:

As the 'ruler' of the pizza market, surely Domino's has the right and might to drive the industry forward and to make pizza and other fast food providers deliver more honest products; akin to the Honest Tea article I have just read on Brand Channel.
On this one, Abe, while I think you may have valid points regarding some detail elements, the overall campaign and stance Domino's is taking is both praiseworthy and, I think, commercially astute. In my opinion, this campaign will continue to grow sales, and win over more consumers so sales grow is not a short-term boost.
Time will tell if my opinions are correct or not!

July 9, 2010 07:28 AM #

Comments are closed

elsewhere on brandchannel

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
brandcameo2014 Product Placement Awards
Apple loses its crown to a new #1
Coca-ColaIt's the Journey That Matters:
Coca-Cola Opens Up With Story-Based Web Refresh
debateJoin the Debate
Is product placement a waste of money?
Arthur Chinski and Joshua Mizrahi
Model Behavior? Brands Beware
U.S. Legal Changes Impact Use of Brand Ambassadors
paperCorporate Citizenship in Canada
Fresh thinking from Interbrand
Sheryl Connelly
Sheryl Connelly

Meet Ford's Resident Futurist
Highlighting the Present—and Future—of Branding in Latin America and Iberia