Domino’s: The Pizza Turnaround
Last year fastfood group Domino’s Pizza had a tumultuous public relations nightmare, when two employees from a North Carolina Domino’s Pizza franchise posted several gross videos on YouTube on April 15, 2009, which gained worldwide notoriety. Bloggers uncovered the identities of the employees, who later were arrested and jailed for food tampering.
Domino’s USA President Patrick Doyle response on YouTube in April 2009
The vast YouTube community was revulsed seeing the videos, yet watched anyway. Within a day the clips had been viewed about 200,000 times. The videos were reposted on other sites. By April 15, the number of views soared to nearly 1 million.
On April 16, local and national newspapers and broadcast outlets, like the Today Show, began calling to get the story and replayed portions of the original video, causing more people to view them. The removal of the video from YouTube turned out to be complicated, so the pizza chain decided to shoot a two-minute apology video apology from Domino’s USA President Patrick Doyle and posted it where the whole thing started – on YouTube.
“We had been fighting fire with water” Domino’s spokesman McIntyre said. “Now we needed to fight the fire with fire.” The Domino’s response video (now set to private) has been viewed 650,000 times, while the original videos, now taken down by YouTube but still available elsewhere, have been viewed about 2 million times.
In an article later that month spokesman McIntyre told the San Francisco Chronicle: “Would we do it again? Yes. It helped us get the word out. While it did expose more people to the issue, it also said Domino’s Pizza is taking this very seriously and that the thing we hold dearest is our customer’s trust.”
Now 8 months later the pizza maker releases a surprising new campaign advert just after the holidays and on the eve of its 50th birthday, entitled Pizzaturnaround, created by Crispin, Porter + Bogusky. In a four-minute YouTube video documentary Domino’s CEO J. Patrick Doyle tells the public it has listened to its harshest critics and made the push to launch a completely revamped pizza, with new recipes for both its sauce and dough.
The pizza is a response to the “Domino’s ‘haters’ of the world, who don’t hesitate to bash us on blogs and in social media sites everywhere” Patrick Doyle said. The pizza maker spent about $75 million on development and marketing of the new pizza, according to an estimate by Forbes magazine. So maybe Dell Ideastorm and MyStarbucksIdea weren’t that bad of ideas after all
U.S. Pizza Business
Pizza companies everywhere are wrapping up a tough decade after a heady 1980s and 1990s, said Harry Balzer, vice president at NPD Group, a market research firm based in Port Washington, N.Y. Americans are still eating pizza, but the weak economy has ushered many people to the frozen food aisle because microwaveable pizzas are less expensive than delivery.
Domino’s same-store sales have been flat, forcing the company to close 108 stores in the U.S. The company, along with Pizza Hut, Papa John’s and Little Caesars, controls close to half of the pizza industry, which is expected to remain flat at $38 billion, according to the trade magazine Pizza Today.
About the author
Paul van Veenendaal (34) is an all-round marketing professional from the Netherlands with 12+ years of online experience and co-founder of ViralBlog. Currently Paul is working at Starcom Amsterdam as Social Media & Communnity Consultant for Honda, Samsung, GSK, Redbull, Heineken and Nintendo.