Brand of Opportunity: Domino's Hispanic Campaign Features Franchisee

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Advertising Age Player

Domino's hopes a new TV spot spotlighting one of its franchisees will lure more Hispanics to its pizzas.

The chain this week launched what it calls an unprecedented Spanish-language TV campaign that positions Domino's as a "leader in opportunity" by highlighting one of its franchisees, Mauricio Arroyave, and his story.

Mr. Arroyave, born in Medellin, Colombia and raised in Libertyville, Ill., now owns 10 stores in the Chicago area. The spot mentions that he, like 90% of franchisees, began at Domino's by handing out flyers, taking calls and making pizzas. The campaign will be primarily TV-focused, but will include some digital marketing and social media.

Domino's said the TV spot, created by Latinworks, represents a major change in its Hispanic marketing approach. Previously, the marketing was solely product-focused with actors, but this campaign features real Domino's employees and is meant to convey opportunity at the company. Domino's spokesman Chris Brandon likened it to the chain's general-market creative, known as "Pizza Turnaround," that launched when Domino's reformulated its pizza, because both highlight Domino's employees.

The "Turnaround" effort in late 2009 was created by MDC Partners' CP&B and was notable because it gave critics and dissatisfied customers a stage to publicly denounce the pizza in the ads. Domino's then sided with the haters, admitted its pizza wasn't up to par, and announced a reformulated product. Later campaigns included some of the chain's suppliers, such as a tomato farmer, with the aim of appearing transparent and communicative to consumers.

Interestingly, Latinworks had to overcome a problem with Hispanics following the "Turnaround" campaign: They preferred the pizza before it was reformulated. To keep them in the fold, Latinworks positioned the brand as part of the community -- a brand that offers a new great taste at the same price, which seems to bode well for this new opportunistic approach.

"In a lot of ways this campaign is getting in line with the 'Pizza Turnaround': Telling stories about our real people," said Mr. Brandon. He said it's a departure for Domino's, because traditionally the chain's Hispanic creative had been focused on product and value promotions.

Why the shift? Mr. Brandon said that it's not because Domino's was communicating poorly with its audience, but that it could stand to communicate better with Hispanics by highlighting the opportunity that exists at Domino's. He declined to detail what percentage of Domino's customers are Hispanic.

Domino's in recent years has been putting more of an effort toward the Hispanic audience, said Mr. Brandon, by beefing up internal resources such as hiring more multicultural experts. And while Domino's does relatively well in the Hispanic demographic, Little Caesars is the group's favored pizza chain, according to research from Sandleman & Associates.

Hispanics are more likely to choose pizza when they go out for fast food as compared to the general market, said Chris Miller, exec VP at Sandleman. Though Domino's and Pizza Hut both over-index with Hispanics compared to the general market, Little Caesars is the most likely of the three to be patronized by Spanish-speaking and English-speaking Hispanics, Sandelman's research found.

Mr. Brandon declined to comment on Sandelman's findings. But he said the new campaign "doesn't have to do with the competition -- it was more that the opportunity presented itself for us to revamp and re-engage," he said.

Sandleman's Mr. Miller said a big part of Little Caesars popularity among Hispanics is affordability, noting the chain "has been very aggressive offering low prices." Service also comes into play. "When you look at Little Caesars brand ratings versus other large pizza chains, they have leading ratings -- not only on affordability and value, but also speed," he said. Little Caesars declined to comment for this story.

Domino's in 2012 allocated roughly 13%, or $25.8 million, of its measured-media spending to Spanish-language TV, according To Kantar Media. The chain spent a total of $197.2 million on U.S. measured media last year.

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