Friday, January 8, 2010

As the Domino's fall, so goes advertising


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
www.colbertnation.com

Colbert Report Full Episodes
Political Humor
Economy

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.

6 comments:

Kristen Pozzuoli said...

Although this is a very radical approach to an ad campaign and pushes the normal boundaries, the effects might be more significant in the end than if Domino's went with a more traditional approach. Not only will the pure lack of tradition make the ad stand out to consumers, but the fact that all deception, which many advertisements employ along with exaggeration, is gone. This is a factor that will draw people in. Also, people want to be heard and see the change that they desire be initiated. So in fact, Domino's may draw in customers they never had before who are eager to try out the new pizza, along witht he old customers who may want to see if if their complaining paid off. Domino's did not just claim to make the change, but actually showed real footage with real employees testing for a better recipe, making the experience of the ad more tangible and believable.

Jocelyn Murray said...

Despite the controversial tactics used by Domino's for this ad, I think it was a clever and successful strategy of them. The ad was interesting and different, capturing and maintaining hte interest and attention of the viewers throughout the duration of the ad. It unusual, negative, publicity brought thoughts and questions to the minds of viewers, making them curious regarding the success of the ad and new recipe teh Domino's was marketing. The actual testimonials from employees and management, shows their dedication and commitment to customer service and satisfaction. Overall, I support this endeavor by Domino's, a successful American business, and in the end, I too, was craving a slice of the new-and-improved pizza.

Jocelyn Murray said...

Despite the controversial tactics used by Domino's for this ad, I think it was a clever and successful strategy of them. The ad was interesting and different, capturing and maintaining hte interest and attention of the viewers throughout the duration of the ad. It unusual, negative, publicity brought thoughts and questions to the minds of viewers, making them curious regarding the success of the ad and new recipe teh Domino's was marketing. The actual testimonials from employees and management, shows their dedication and commitment to customer service and satisfaction. Overall, I support this endeavor by Domino's, a successful American business, and in the end, I too, was craving a slice of the new-and-improved pizza.

Victoria Anne said...

This Domino's strategy has always interested me. It was a risky advertisement to make public, but it was definitely an attention grabber. Just as the blog post mentions, advertising is changing. It is not just about presenting a certain brand or product, but it is about getting the audiences attention and making their company memorable. In Domino's case, they decided to show where they may have messed up. And although they showed the bad side of the food they sell, they were honest and this grabbed people's attention.

This makes me think about Toyota and how their advertising plan was not so clever. Just as Domino's used an advertisement to show where they messed up in the past, Toyota could have done something similar. Whenever Domino's is brought up, I never talk completely negative about it since their latest ad campaign. However, whenever Toyota comes up, I usually can only think of negative things.

Meg OKeefe said...

I wrote a comment on this post quite some time ago, and as I was re-browsing your blog I noticed it was missing. Anyway, before we even spoke about the Domino's fall (no pun intended!) in class, I knew about the problems they were having because I have always been a pretty big fan of Domino's throughout my life. Although their pizza was nothing extraordinary, I did not find their product to be as inedible as described by some of the consumers here. Their crust certainly isn't comparable to cardboard, for example.

Well, people won't easily stray from what they think so the above really isn't essential. However, I think that this campaign is a successful one. The serious matter of the commercials is instantly attention getting. I really want to know more! I think it is really neat that they went back to the very same consumers that were once interviewed to have them try their new pizza. It shows that as a company, Domino's has listened those who matter most - their consumer!

Although everything Colbert was saying was true, he is just bringing comedic relief to a somewhat big issue. I think how he brought light to the situation helped their cause, rather than hurt it.

Domino's has proven to come full circle in the application of their research, and these commercials definitely prove that.

memckeron1 said...

I think this was a very unconventional approach to advertising. While it caused me to question the logic behind the ad, it also drew me in because of the odd approach. It made me curious about if the changes were actually made and if the pizza was actually improved. It subtly encouraged participation and engaged the viewer in the ad.


By the way, I tried the "new and improved" pizza over one of our college breaks, and it wasn't too bad.