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Self-Flagellation as Corporate Strategy: Domino's "We Suck!" Campaign Piles on the Sales

Domino's Pizza (DPZ)'s "we suck!" ad campaign is working: The chain's sales grew 14.5 percent to $362 million in Q2 2010, and up 16.5 percent for the first six months of the year -- the period in which the campaign was launched. It's a testament to a notion that's not often honored in brand management: honesty is the best policy.

In January, I suggested that CEO Patrick Doyle was taking a big risk with his ads, which showed how customers described Domino's pies as like ketchup on top of cardboard, until the company vowed to get its act together:

The chain has also given us some metrics to measure its success: Franchisees have agreed to contribute 5.5% of sales to a national advertising fund, up from 4%, according to Dow Jones Newswires, and the chain expects to see a 3% to 5% revenue increase at international stores.
Clearly, sacrificing 1 percent of sales to add on 16.5 percent was a good bet. Which is why you'll be seeing more of Domino's self-flagellating ads in the near future, beginning with this one (video below) in which Doyle is vexed by a pizza that was smushed all over the inside of its delivery box. Doyle addresses the camera:
This is not acceptable. Bryce in Minnesota, you shouldn't have to get this from Dominos, we're better than this.
(Interestingly, it turns out that Domino's does not yet know who Bryce is.) It doesn't stop there. Domino's also has a video which describes how it made its food look good in ads, back in the bad old days. The recipe included nails, tweezers, blow dryers, syringes, and Q-Tips. Now, the company says, it will only use photos its customers have sent in.

It all raises an interesting question: When Domino's finally gets everything right, won't it be robbed of its best-ever ad campaign? Doyle told BNET in an email:

That will be a high class problem!! I look forward to dealing with it --

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