Puns and PR: Domino's Pizza cheesiest publicity stunts

Domino's

Pizza delivery ought to be a simple game, sell pizza, deliver pizza, rinse and repeat, but one brand has been seizing headlines on an almost monthly basis with its attempts to seemingly turn the industry upside down... Domino's Pizza.

Earlier this year, the company reported that it had shifted 89m pizzas internationally over 12 months, 2.6m of these were even the infamous pineapple-topped variant. But Domino's is hell-bent on growth and is keen to be seen as the industry disruptor, a fast food firm, and a tech platform. To aid with this, and most recently, the company enabled voice ordering through the Amazon Alexa assistant.

But the stunts land weekly across the globe with calculated precision, The Drum has decided to take a look at some of the most interesting stunts put out by the company recently to truly understand the trends driving its marketing drive.

Robots and Drones

Domino’s is a big believer in robots, drones, autonomons and ground-breaking tech, while it is arguably not vastly difficult to bake and deliver pizzas, the company enjoys being associated with absurdly advanced tech, all to create an air of superiority around the brand in comparison to its old school rivals. As a result, it regularly seizes headlines in leading newspapers and publications.

Robotic stunts have been run (or piloted) in Holland and Germany, and New Zealand, to mention but a few.

Some of these compact delivery prototypes are powered by Lidar which is a leading navigational component in self-driving cars. DRU (below) is an example of the company's innovation. The device, akin to a bomb defusal robot, is capable of navigating spaces and delivereing pizzas.

With the stunt Domino's said it was ‘giving customers a glimpse into the future of what is possible.’ And rather than a throwaway stunt, earlier this year it emerged that the company is building voice-recognition into its GRU unit.

Drone deliveries and futuristic delivery vehicles have also been trialled.

Chatbots and the Internet of Things

With the gift of technology, ordering pizza is not hard, but that does not mean it cannot get easier, to this end the company is embracing a plethora of platforms to reduce sales friction.

This includes embracing voice interfaces such as the Amazon Echo, or coming alive on chat apps like Facebook Messenger utilizing chat bots that are emblazoned with real sass as you can see below.

It aims to be on every feasible platform to take any remaining stress out of the ordering process, it was also an earlier embracer of the Apple Watch app, looking to accommodate those who need to order pizza with a flick (and a couple of taps) of their wrist.

Weird and compelling stunts

Sometimes marketing campaigns have to be highly bizarre to gain attention in a world where content is bombarding the public.

When it is not training reindeers to deliver pizzas at Christmas, Domino's is adapting its website so people can gift pizzas to newly wed couples. Unusual activity from a brand keen to make noise at any possible time.

Back in 2015, it also debuted Tummy Translator technology, an app that purported to (but obviously couldn't) unveil the desires of the stomach. In the two years following the discovery, very little has been made of the campaign that supposedly cracked conversation with the gastric region.

It is a brand keen to get the attention of pizza fans no matter what, often tinkering or subverting some of the basics of its business model.

For example, delivery suddenly seems fun when the company puts out an ad showing dodgems distributing pizza, or robots, or reindeers (a Japanese stunt that was eventually cancelled after generating significant press).

Emojis and digital

Domino's is one of those brands that get a free pass when using emoji online, usually the pizza emoji followed by the 'OK hand'.

So confident with its down-with-the-kids positioning that it ran a Facebook Live auction in the UK where viewers could supposedly bid for unique artwork using emoji. Live is always a risky proposition but it seemed to generate real dividends at the time.

Back in 2015, the company said it was to start accepting orders made on Twitter using emoji. Patrick Doyle, Domino's chief executive told USA Today. "We've got this down to a five-second exchange."

Whether this was a stunt or an experiment, it's clear the company wants to take all the friction out of its commerce pathways. Every second wasted ordering pizza is another second a consumer can instead opt for a healthier or more inexpensive option.

It is also worth outlining that with its pizza tracker, the company has transformed the inarguably brief oven-to-mouth period into an exciting, almost gamified event, that warrants a whoop of joy as the pizza progresses through its production line.

Domino's Pizza has contributed a rich pedigree of odd marketing to the world, check out The Drum's wider coverage of them here.

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