Domino's Sees Sales Soar After Admitting 'We Stink'

After some initial prognostications about another New Coke disaster-in-the-making, Domino's Pizza's reformulation of its main product has been a huge success, writes columnist Greg Burns. Sales at domestic stores open more than a year rose 14.3% in the first full quarter after the new recipe debuted last December.

The blunt "we stink" marketing campaign that admits that the old crust tasted like "cardboard" and the old sauce like "ketchup" no doubt has a lot to do with the good news. Could such candor work in other categories? Burns wonders.

"The one that comes to my mind is the airlines," says Bellwether Food Group consultant Mac Brand. Marketing guru Willard "Bill" Bishop observes that the timing was good for the pizza maker. "Times are tough," he says. "Most of us are disappointed with the actions of business and other institutions" and Dominos sagely tapped into that sentiment.

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