DOMINO'S TELLS CME: EMPHASIZE QUALITY: AGENCY EXPECTED TO DELIVER FIRST CREATIVE THIS FALL FOR $75 MIL ACC'T

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Domino's Pizza last week delivered Campbell Mithun Esty, Minneapolis, a challenge with its $75 million account: Help customers understand that Domino's is about more than delivery.

Coming off healthy 1996 sales spurred in part by new products, Domino's is keen to communicate the quality of its menu items in addition to the speed of its delivery.

"There isn't a company with more experienced pizzamakers making your pizza," said Cheryl Bachelder, exec VP-marketing and product development at Domino's. "We feel there are many untold stories at Domino's."

Those untold stories now are in the hands of CME, with media buying and planning awarded to J. Walter Thompson USA, New York.

SALES UP 7%

CME admits it's inheriting a client on a roll. Domino's 1996 same-store sales in the U.S. climbed 7%, while other fast-food chains struggled.

Still, "They've not been getting credit for the quality of the product they make," said David Tree, chief creative officer and vice chairman at CME. "Our job is to let the world know what a fine product they make."

Emphasizing quality will horn in on territory traditionally held by pizza segment leader Pizza Hut, which is fighting to rebound from a same-store-sales decline of 4% last year.

New creative from CME will appear in the fall, Ms. Bachelder said. The chain next month introduces a third flavored-crust pizza, following the success of last year's Roma Herb and Garlic Crunch, and ads prepared by previous agency Grey Advertising will support beginning in mid-April.

Grey has contended it played a key role in Domino's success, and the agency's absence from the Domino's review sparked a good deal of industry attention.

Grey earlier claimed it declined to participate as a matter of principle. Ms. Bachelder declined to confirm reports that indicated Grey was not invited in, saying only, "The relationship ended on Jan. 10."

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