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Domino's Touts Carry-out in Ad Campaign

CEO and Franchisee 'Argue' Over Pizza Deal Pricing in Commercial

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Domino's Pizza, a company whose slogan was once "Get the door, it's Domino's," is launching a national campaign focusing on something quite different: carry-out.

The company today launches an extended promotion dubbed the Early Week Pick-Me-Up Deal, offering a large three-topping pizza for $7.99 -- carry-out only. The deal will be valid Monday through Wednesday each week, and will "definitely go on for more than a month," Domino's chief marketing officer, Russell Weiner, told Ad Age . He added that the promotion could run longer, depending on the success of it, but the ads will only air Monday through Wednesday of each week.

The campaign will feature a TV spot that will run on broadcast and cable networks, as well as radio spots and local marketing. Mr. Weiner said the TV spot, created by Domino's agency CP&B, is a continuation of the message that has been a common thread through much of the company's advertising over the past year and a half: transparency. It features Domino's Pizza President-CEO J. Patrick Doyle and Domino's franchisee Scott Boyle at odds over the discounted pricing of the deal.

"The campaign is an amusing way to prove an important point -- that even if an idea is unconventional according to some within Domino's, if it's what consumers have asked of us, we all eventually agree that it is well worth it," Mr. Doyle said in a statement.

Mr. Weiner said consumers are increasingly interested in a carry-out option in part because of the recession. Carry-out saves on delivery cost and tip for the driver. And with gas prices so high, some restaurants may be looking to increase the delivery charge.

Deep discounting on food has been widely used by restaurant chains during the economic downturn. While with fast-food restaurants the discounts have taken the shape of dollar and value meals, the pizza category has turned to carry-out. Domino's started offering similar carry-out promotions about a year and a half ago, but generally only for a week at a time. Rival Yum Brands' Pizza Hut has recently been advertising a similar short-term take-out deal: $10 for a pizza of any size, with any crust and toppings. Little Caesar's, a pizza chain operating primarily as a take-out business, has long advertised $5 pizzas.

Domino' lowered its measured-media spending slightly in 2010, according to Kantar. Last year the pizza chain shelled out $169.6 million in ad spending, down 1.1% from 2009's $171.6 million.

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