DOMINO'S SITS DOWN WITH BLOCKBUSTER FOR $15 MIL PROMOTION: FIRST NAT'L LINK PUSHES PIZZAS, VIDEO RENTALS

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Domino's wants to give pizza lovers another reason to order in, so the takeout chain is launching a $15 million promotion with Blockbuster Video.

This is the marketer's first national link with a video chain and its largest promotion ever. It comes as pizza brands struggle to stand out in a crowded field.

"It's a natural tie-in," said Jeffrey Litman, a Denver-based Domino's franchisee. "It's a very good marriage, with people sitting home watching videos and eating pizza."

20 MILLION PIZZAS

Domino's, the U.S.' No. 2 pizza chain, expects to deliver some 20 million pizzas during the promotion in boxes printed with Blockbuster coupons. The coupons are a two-for-one deal -- rent one, get one free. Blockbuster will give coupons for a free medium pizza when customers buy a large pie.

Domino's will sell its large pizza with three toppings for $9.99 during the promotion.

Advertising will tout "hot pizza, hot movies."

"It's a very significant promotion in terms of the media support we're going to put behind it and the amount of distribution we'll have on both sides," said Patrick Doyle, Domino's VP-marketing.

Domino's has 4,400 U.S. outlets and Blockbuster has 4,000 video stores.

Domino's will support the five-week promotion with two new TV commercials and radio ads from Campbell Mithun Esty, Minneapolis. TV spots start Nov. 9 on network TV, and will appear on video monitors at Blockbuster stores. Blockbuster supports with radio ads via W.B. Doner & Co., Southfield, Mich.

TIMING GOOD

The timing is especially good, said Ron Paul, president of consultancy Technomic Inc., in light of shaky consumer confidence in the economy. While fancy restaurants stand to suffer, pizza and fast-food restaurants may gain, he noted.

"It's a very logical cross-promotion," he added. "You can stay at home and drink beer by the six- pack and it's far less costly than going to a restaurant."

Mr. Doyle said there are no plans to deliver videos along with the pizzas. Blockbuster, he said, wants customers to linger in its stores. "It would be a level of complexity we don't want to get into," he said.

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