In new Domino’s ad, failure is an option

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

15 May 2014

Domino’s ad tries a different approach

A new Domino’s ad launched a massive advertising campaign (north of 5% of its sales) to convince us that we should buy its new Specialty Chicken. What is strange about these ads is that they come under the backdrop of failure being an option at Domino’s. The ad is a strange mix of “buy our product” and “it’s okay for us to fail sometimes.”

“Even still, I am not sure what that says about Domino’s – ‘We’ll make anything and, if it sells, we’ll keep it?'”


Domino'sAs I thought about the ad, it seems like Dominos is apologizing for its Specialty Chicken and hedging its bets a bit by saying, if it fails, it’s okay (but we still want you to buy it). It would seem much more genuine if the ad was about Domino’s and not about a product it was trying to sell.

I think the intention was for Domino’s to say that it is not like every other pizza delivery because it tries to bring you interesting and innovative products – and we know sometimes that means they fail. Even still, I am not sure what that says about Domino’s – “We’ll make anything and, if it sells, we’ll keep it?”

In either case, what this tells me about Domino’s is it has little clue what it is. More importantly, it has no clue what its brand is about or who it is for and not for. Domino’s is taking the “we can be all things to everyone” approach, which means Domino’s is for nobody.

The best brands are a reflection of who they believe their target is and I have yet to see demographic data for “those who see failure as an option.” The Domino’s brand is headed in the wrong direction.

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