I have to admit that I was absolutely appalled by this advertisement for Domino’s pizza in which members of a “focus group” talk about the shortcomings of the product. Of course, the commercial resolves this dilemma by declaring that Domino’s has changed for the better. But whatever happened to the logic of “don’t ever let them see you sweat”? In other words, why would any company air their dirty laundry—in particular the shortcomings of their product—on national television and beyond? But in the new world of advertising there is no place for logic. While some advertising is interested in creating meaning for consumers, other advertising is simply interested in creating a visceral reaction – an experience. Whether or not that visceral reaction is positive or negative doesn’t seem to matter, because in this age of distraction, you first have to get the attention of consumers by whatever means you can muster. In my book Advertising in Everyday Life, I write about a three-step process--wonder leads to consent, which leads to participation--that extends beyond the kind of cause and effect reasoning of earlier advertising processes, sometimes referred to as the hierarchy of effects. What interests me about the Domino’s advertising campaign isn’t just the television commercial, the 897 comments (to date) the ad received and the 200,000 hits the commercial received on YouTube have to be considered as a form of engagement. And, beyond the commercial and the buzz it created through “new media,” we must consider the almost five minute segment that the campaign received on The Colbert Report.
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|Alpha Dog of the Week - Domino's Pizza|
Even though Colbert’s segment is a snarky attack on the logic of the ad campaign, I don’t think that offended Domino’s executives in the least. Having said that, I would love to have been a fly on the wall when the advertising agency convinced the Domino’s brand manager that this was a good way to go. The approach simply defies logic, but the new advertising dictates that logic be thrown out the window, replaced by attention getting ploys that are intended to engage consumers through their own participation with the ad campaign. That's the way the new advertising works.