"I've tried to encourage [my kids] toward team sports," says the new VP-marketing and product development at Domino's Pizza. "Over and above athleticism, it teaches you values about depending on others and how they depend on you."
For Grey Advertising, New York, which certainly depends on Domino's $60 million budget, this is good news. Despite rumors Grey is on shaky ground, Mr. Lavely seems willing for now to play ball with the agency that created Domino's "Somethin' for nothin"' campaign under former marketing chief Larry Sheehan.
Mr. Lavely, 51, says his fast-food experience has taught him to judge ad campaigns with facts, not opinions.
"Sales are up, that's fact No. 1," Mr. Lavely says of Grey's work. "My opinion is that Domino's has bigger and better consumer benefits-like service and product quality-that I don't see in `Somethin' for nothin'."
By now, Mr. Lavely should know Domino's menu like the back of his hand; He spent the past month sampling the wares of franchisees nationwide.
"I just finished eating three kinds of pizza, two subs and buffalo wings at lunch today," he laughs.
Luckily for his waistline, Domino's state-of-the-art fitness center on the outskirts of Ann Arbor, Mich., allows Mr. Lavely to indulge his favorite hobby-running.
"I always make time to run-5 miles a day, six days a week," he says. He has run the New York and Chicago marathons and is training to race in the 100th Boston Marathon in 1996.
Domino's owner Thomas Monaghan chose Mr. Lavely from a field of 700 applicants, a company spokesman said. Landing the high-profile job May 10 has made him infinitely cooler with his kids, Mr. Lavely says.
"My 14-year-old called to say, `Dad, you have to come be a chaperone at my dance. All the kids want to meet you."' His wife, Wanda, and their three children will move to Ann Arbor this month from the family's 33-acre farm in Lexington, Ky.
Before Domino's, Mr. Lavely spent a year developing five Kenny Rogers Roasters restaurants in Lexington. The marketing director hopes his experience as a franchisee, though short-lived, will help him address franchisee concerns at Domino's.
Menu proliferation is one such concern. Mr. Lavely says he will look for "good, new products that Domino's can execute with a high degree of superiority."
In addition to coaching his children's sports teams, Mr. Lavely still looks to New England for athletic inspiration.
"The Red Sox are giving me false hopes again," he sighs.