April 3, 2012 at 11:12 AM ET
Domino's is putting its foot down with finicky customers.
The pizza delivery company on Thursday will launch a TV ad campaign that says "No!" to customers who want to add or remove any toppings from its artisan pizzas.
The concept is in line with the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based company's effort to recast itself as a seasoned purveyor of high-quality pizza, with a voiceover in the ad noting 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, the latest in a line of artisan pies introduced last year. Customers can still customize any other pies.
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 dissing the subpar ingredients of the past. One said the marinara sauce tasted like ketchup.
The 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 J. Patrick Doyle 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. 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 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 Inc. said its full-year earnings rose 20 percent to $105.4 million, from the prior year. Annual revenue increased 5 percent to $1.65 billion and revenue at U.S. stores open at least a year rose 3.5 percent and while store abroad saw revenue grow 6.8 percent.
Domino's has 9,541 franchised and company-owned stores in the U.S. and more than 70 international markets.