Just before the new year, Domino's went live with their new pizza recipe and kicked it off with a campaign that shows actual customers describing the pizza in brutally honest terms. It's a bold move for any company with millions of satisfied customers to tell them that the pizza they've been enjoying for years actually sucks.
If the goal of the campaign was to create buzz and trial, it seems as though they've succeeded. But judging by the comments on Domino's Facebook page, it's pretty clear that not everyone is enamored with the new recipe. And many of the comments use words a lot worse than "cardboard."
I like that Domino's took a "go big or go home" approach with their product and the marketing. I've always believed that it's better to kill your current product and replace it with something better before your competition does it for you. I've tried the new pizza and personally think the spicier sauce is a great improvement. As for the campaign, no one would have blinked if they had introduced it with an ad that said "our great pizza is now even better."
The challenge Domino's now faces is managing expectations in a world where everyone's a critic (witness this blog) and people feel that the anonymity of posting online gives them license to drop all civility in their commentary. To their credit, Domino's isn't censoring comments on their website and Facebook pages. If it keeps up for long, however, they may yearn for the days when people said, "their sauce tastes like ketchup."