It’s like the Dove Real Beauty campaign but for pizza.
I have written before about my Instagram problem. It’s mostly under control, and it’s been helped by the fact that I have a LOT MORE ADS in my feed lately. Many of them are horrible and stupid and make me feel fat and like I don’t take enough vacations, but some of them look like my friends are posting pictures of their fresh Domino’s pizza deliveries. And that’s because the Instagram ads that Domino’s uses are just, not even “realistic” but “actual real photos of pizza,” probably re-touched but only in a way that enhances the photograph as a whole but doesn’t mess with the integrity of the product if you know what I’m saying? What I’m saying is: grease stains on cardboard. Too much flash. Bad lighting. Toppings that are out of focus. And you know what? I want every one of those pizzas. Solid and Striped ads be damned.
Last week Bloomberg published a feature on the resurrection of Domino’s and its propulsion to global sales of $10.6 billion. The piece largely focuses on the technological prowess of their little progress-bar app/interactive web thing that I know you’ve used, don’t lie, as well as other advances in delivery methods (drones, subcompact cars with warming ovens built in), but one paragraph in particular stood out to me:
Russell Weiner, who’d come from PepsiCo Inc. in 2008 to be Domino’s chief marketing officer and is now president of U.S. operations, picks up the story from there. Wiry from losing 50 pounds on the Pritikin diet, he talks fast and keeps a giant bowl of clementines in his office. Flush with success from their first honesty offensive, Weiner and his team started discussing fresh ways for Domino’s to ridicule itself. “We asked: ‘What else in our industry isn’t transparent?’ ” he says. One obvious answer: the photos used for menus and marketing. “During the shoots, they put extra melted cheese in the cracks after cutting the pizza and blow it dry,” he says. “We call it cheese porn.” The company’s next TV spot showed what really happens on a photo shoot, along with Domino’s promise, henceforth, to use only photos of pizza that its employees had actually made.
For one thing, I love a skinny fast-food executive. For another, Domino’s isn’t going to tell you life is prettier than it is. You might be ashamed that you want some cheesy bread with your pepperoni-and-nothing-else delivery pizza, but Domino’s isn’t, and it wants you to know that. Domino’s is here for your basest habits, to nurture and celebrate them. You want greasy, straight-up regular-ass pizza that makes your apartment smell like old cheese and dried red sauce and you want it fast. It’s kind of a nice change from the avocado-topped vegan grain bowls your coworker keeps posting, isn’t it?