Domino’s Pizza is using a new ad campaign to tell consumers "No," specifically so they'll stop trying to add or substitute ingredients on "Artisan Pizza" orders.
The pizza company has four varieties of the artisan pie, which now include a new Chicken & Bacon Carbonara version. But want pepperoni on that? Or maybe anchovies? Not a chance.
Domino’s is so adamant about the policy that it’s dedicating its new media blitz, which launches Thursday, to saying "No." (Other fast food ads that focus on cheerful celebrities and lush images of food are "tiresome" in Domino’s eyes.)
"No is the new yes," said Russell Weiner, Domino’s chief marketing officer.
Usually, Domino’s is all about pizza creativity – it says that its standard pies can be made 34 million different ways. But the artisan recipes were "meticulously designed by our chefs to have the perfect balance of ingredients," Weiner said.
But just in case, Domino will try to engender goodwill by giving away 75,000 free artisan pies starting Monday. Domino’s unveiled the higher-priced pizzas in September to much skepticism from slow-food devotees and traditional craftspeople.
The prohibitive advertisements are "an unusual way to communicate," said Dominique Hanssens, a marketing professor at the UCLA Anderson Graduate School of Management. But they’re also "not a bad idea," he said.
"Domino’s is usually an all-purpose pizza provider, so this is probably an attempt to upgrade the brand," he said. "And it’s a way to draw attention to the quality of the pizza."
The tactic could be successful because Domino’s differentiates between the two sides of its business – the convenience diners looking for unlimited consumer choice and the more upscale market likely to be intrigued by a designer pizza.
"When you buy an Armani suit, they’ll tailor it for you, but otherwise it’s a certain design that the brand puts in front of you," Hanssens said. "Either you take it or you leave it. The trick to avoid alienating consumers is to clearly differentiate within product categories."