For Domino's, 'Failure Is An Option'

Domino's admits it's OK if Specialty Chicken, its first new product since the launch of Handmade Pan Pizza in September 2012, fails to connect with consumers.

"We are proud to be known as a pizza company, but Specialty Chicken shows we are not afraid to step out of our comfort zone and take risks -- something that is truly part of our brand fabric," said Russell Weiner, chief marketing officer, Domino's Pizza. "Not every risk we have taken has turned out to be successful, but as a brand we have learned that sometimes you have to fail in order to be great."

Still, Domino's "Failure Is An Option" campaign with creative agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky may celebrate failure, but the chain's advertising is designed to ensure Specialty Chicken's success, or at least make sure the new menu item garners massive awareness. 

The campaign includes national TV ads beginning April 21, as well as digital and social media outreach. On April 14 and 15, Domino's is giving away 25,000 orders of Specialty Chicken to select Facebook fans who submit entries on Domino's Facebook brand page.

Domino's and CP+B are also introducing a new logo for the chain. The agency has worked with the brand since 2007. The company has an internal team for digital/social media that works closely with Crispin.

Domino's will funnel 6% of sales to its national advertising fund in 2014, consistent with 2013. "This used to be a business that was very much about print, local store marketing effort by getting our franchisees, getting in the community, meeting with people, trying to sell their product that way and TV," says Michael Lawton, chief financial officer, Domino's, speaking with financial analysts.

"We are shifting more and more away from print and into digital," says Lawton. "Digital -- whether it be paid search or banner ads or social media -- is definitely the way consumers want us to communicate with them, particularly as you could imagine the typical pizza customer is younger than I am. I think we’re clearly trying to lead in that direction -- we are responding to what the customer wants." 

Specialty Chicken joins the menu under Domino's $5.99 mix-and-match deal. The boneless chicken product features a combination of toppings, sauces and cheeses.

Domino's generated approximately 40% of sales in the U.S. from its digital channels in 2013. The chain, with 10,800 stores in over 70 international markets had global retail sales of over $8.0 billion in 2013, comprised of nearly $3.8 billion in the U.S. and over $4.2 billion internationally.

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