Taste, delivery inspire Domino's ads

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Yearlong budget of $50 mil backs change in strategy

While Pizza Hut focuses on celebrities and flashy new products in its ads, Domino's Pizza said it's making the product the star of a new $50 million, yearlong campaign breaking this week.

The new effort, themed "For hot and wow call Domino's now," employs a dual strategy to call attention to the taste of Domino's pizza and the company's delivery capabilities.

$10 MILLION TO START

Domino's will spend $8 million to $10 million on the initial flight, to be repeated several times this year. Grey Advertising, New York, created the TV, print and--a first for Domino's--national radio campaign.

Domino's is aiming to redefine itself after years of revolving-door marketing management and a lack of ad direction.

"Just what did `Gotta be Domino's' mean? That was the big question," said one Domino's exec.

The new campaign is the first under Cheryl Bachelder, Domino's VP-marketing and new-product development, the company's fourth senior-level marketing executive in recent years.

"Our past ads did not convince consumers that we are the experts in both delicious pizza and delivery," said Ms. Bachelder, who joined Domino's last year.

`NO' TO STUFFED CRUST

Domino's, moreover, is staying away from stuffed crust pizza, a product pioneered by Pizza Hut and since embraced by Little Caesars Pizza.

"It's still too early to tell if [stuffed crust pizza] will be the Big Foot of the '90s," said Tim McIntyre, Domino's divisional VP-corporate communications, referring to a Pizza Hut product. He noted that since stuffed crust knockoffs abound, it is no longer a point of difference.

Copyright March 1996 Crain Communications Inc.

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