Telling the truth – a killer strategy?

In the US Domino’s Pizza has come under a lot of flak for their new marketing strategy.

For admitting that their product sucks, that the pizza base tastes like cardboard and saying sorry and then as a response to what their customers said developing and launching a new recipe. Crazy stuff Dominos, say the critics, you are alienating your loyal customers who presumably love cardboard and you are damaging your brand.

You can read the criticism on eConsultancy and Advertising Age by clicking on the links. While you are there read the comments. and when I tweeted the article today almost all the responses were the same, surprisingly disagreeing with the criticism.

Traditionally you would have either defended the product and shored up the brand or launched the new recipe with a “you always loved the old pizza but we have made it better”type of line.

But actually in today’s market that’s a very risky strategy.

So this is what domino’s did:

Now’s time for another story. In the late 80’s I was Client Services and Strategy Director for one of the hottest agencies in South Africa. One of clients was the biggest wine and spirits distributor. They had a dog of a wine brand, it had been promoted on the basis of its heritage – it was named after the birthplace of man who had opened a refreshment station at what is now Cape Town for ships bound from Europe to the East Indies in the spice trade.

Only one of the products was doing anything, a sweet wine loved by drunks in the Eastern Cape.

The heritage positioning was so thin that I suggested that we should throw it out and call it what it was “a good everyday drinking wine” the kind of stuff you would drink with your friends, people whom you had no need to impress.

Much to the horror of the Brand Manager but with the support of the senior management, who had decided to give the brand one last shot. So we told the truth about the brand and implemented that positioning, won a Bronze Lion at Cannes and saved the brand.

The foundation of good marketing is not just great advertising its great product and great experiences. What’s the point of trying to tell your customers stuff they already know is bull. Why not show them a little respect, show them that you care, maybe they will give you the benefit of the doubt.

Maybe this campaign will get customers to have a fresh look.

Well done Domino’s – Telling the truth may just be the Killer Strategy.

Photo by cafemama on Flickr

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  • Brendan Jack

    Self-deprecating is usually better than fake gung ho.
    Especially when it's done well, as in the case of Shredded Wheat: