Domino's taps Norm from 'Cheers' to promote its Pie Pass with name recognition

Campaign from CPB uses footage from classic show

Published On
Feb 18, 2020

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Domino’s is now the place where everybody knows your name—with the tap of your mobile phone.

The leading pizza chain’s latest commercial begins outside a Domino’s with a sign that makes it look much more like Cheers, the bar from the hit TV show of the same name. Norm, as played by George Wendt years ago, walks down the stairs and announces he’s there to pick up a pizza.

“Name please?” asks the Domino’s employee.

“Norm,” Wendt says, perplexed. After all, as anyone who has watched “Cheers” knows, he’s used to being greeted by his name.

Domino’s is best known for delivery but also has a big and growing carryout business. This campaign promotes Pie Pass, which asks people who placed online carryout orders to tap the app when they pull up to the store. Clicking “I’m here” alerts the Domino’s staff that a customer has arrived. Then, they can get the order ready and greet the customer by name.

“The heart of this technology is that personalization and knowing your name, and I think creatively nothing spells being a regular more than the concept of ‘Cheers’ and going to that bar (where) everybody knows your name,” says Kate Trumbull, VP of advertising and Hispanic marketing at Domino’s.

The commercial includes actual footage of Wendt from “Cheers” and the show’s theme song, plus a current recording of the actor’s voice. The footage was mixed in to make it look like he’s Norm Peterson in a current-day Domino’s, even though “Cheers” ended its run in 1993. Domino’s and its creative agency CP&B built a set that looks like a Domino’s with touches of the “Cheers” bar including the stairs and brick wall.

People who have tried Pie Pass, which had a soft launch at the end of 2019, are sometimes surprised when Domino’s staffers say their name, says Trumbull. Pie Pass makes picking up an order a bit faster, which might please anyone—that's everyone, of course—who doesn’t want to wait around for a pie.

“Anything you can do to lessen that wait time is a win for these consumers,” says Trumbull. 

Carryout already accounts for about 45 percent of all Domino’s orders and approximately one-third of sales in terms of revenue. Domino’s knows that across the industry, carryout is nearly twice the size of delivery, and it wants to grow its own carryout business. It offers carryout specials such as three-topping pizzas for $7.99 included in the “Cheers” campaign. And now, as Domino’s sees increased competition from pizza chains and others linking up with delivery services, it wants to make ordering its pizza more enticing. Plus, carryout orders reduce Domino’s delivery costs.

Other chains use technology to speed ordering and pickup processes. Starbucks has had success with mobile order and pay, which allows customers to pre-order on an app, skip the line and collect their order from the counter. At McDonald’s, those who order on the app can pick up in the drive-through lane, in a designated parking spot or the counter inside. And Chipotle is opening more restaurants with “Chipotlanes” that allow customers to drive up, grab their burritos and bowls, and go. 

The Pie Pass campaign comes weeks after Domino’s began running a campaign that’s a remake of the “Risky Business” no-pants dancing scene to promote delivery notifications. 

Using throwback elements helps make tech-focused news more welcoming to viewers, says Trumbull. And even though plenty of patrons were not yet born or were too young to watch “Cheers” during its 1982 to 1993 run, many are aware of the show.

“Millennials are arguably the most nostalgic generation ever,” says Trumbull.