Domino’s Launches Ad Campaign To Test Customer Boldness

Domino’s will launch a new TV ad campaign this week that says “No!” to customers who want to add or remove toppings from its line of artisan pizzas. Customers can still customize any other pies.

The concept is in line with the pizza delivery company’s effort to recast itself as a purveyor of high-quality pizza. A voiceover in the ad notes that the company spent years “perfecting the balance on our artisan crust toppings.” The “No” ad features the company’s new Chicken & Bacon Carbonara pizza, latest in a line of artisan pies introduced last year.

Domino’s push to improve the reputation of its pizzas began about two years ago, when the company overhauled the recipe for its basic pie with a new sauce (more red pepper), cheese (shredded, not cubed) and crust (now with garlic flavor). It also launched an in-your-face ad campaign showing customers in focus groups complaining about the subpar ingredients of the past. One said the marinara sauce tasted like ketchup.

That untraditional campaign by ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky was intended to generate buzz by having Domino’s come clean about its many shortcomings. In one spot, CEO Patrick Boyle showed a pie that was delivered all smashed up and said the company simply had to do better.

Now Dominos is looking to build on the “Oh Yes We Did” tagline by crossing out the “Yes” with a big fat “No.” It marks the campaign’s transition from rehabilitating the company’s image to exerting Domino’s as a culinary authority.

No, customers cannot add pepperoni, mushrooms or olives to its artisan pies. Domino’s is the pizza expert and nobody can tinker with its carefully crafted gourmet pies.

Crispin Porter + Bogusky, based in Miami, is known for its edgy campaigns, including bizarre characters like “The Subservient Chicken” and “The King” for Burger King.

Although the King ads for the struggling hamburger chain were considered a flop, the campaign for Domino’s seems to be helping.

In its last fiscal year, Domino’s Pizza (DPZ) said its full-year earnings rose 20% to $105.4 million, from the prior year. Annual revenue increased 5% to $1.65 billion and revenue at U.S. stores open at least a year rose 3.5% while revenue from stores aboard grew 6.8%.

Domino’s has 9,541 franchised and company-owned stores in the U.S. and more than 70 international markets.

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