Domino’s Pizza Turnaround: Social Media Comes To Life on Network TV

That the recent Domino’s “Pizza Turnaround” effort is spot on and gutsy is impressive, but even more noteworthy for its inspiration and context. The campaign is a vivid demonstration of the power of social media, proving that online efforts need not and should not simply be afterthoughts to television advertising and other traditional media.

That this is a major, network television advertising campaign should not disguise obscure its social media roots and sensibility.

The hallmark of social media is the ability to engage, listen and respond to consumers in the moment, all in a very public and transparent way.This takes a certain amount of fearlessness on the part of the marketer, for when an open forum is provided for customers to praise us or to vent, the bad will inevitably accompany the good.

Smart marketers understand people will inevitably say bad things about their products anyway, and that YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other social media will spread the word far, wide and fast.

Domino’s has owned up to its product problems and done something about it, all very publicly. By doing so, they have effectively taken control of a discussion that was previously way out of control.

If the TV ads alone don’t confirm their social media sensibilities, the Domino’s website certainly does. It features a live, seemingly uncensored Twitter feed with both kudos and criticism. They also provide a link to the “Colbert Nation” website, where Steven Colbert lampoons them mercilessly.

I haven’t tasted the new product yet (being an ex-New Yorker and pizza snob, I tend to favor the mom & pops), but this sure motivates me to do so. The product message is at the core of it, of course.But by being so open and transparent, Domino’s is telling me, as a consumer, that they respect me.

If pizza eaters across the nation get that message, as I suspect they will, Domino’s is sure to benefit.

Social media can work brilliantly to let consumers feel that their thoughts, feelings and opinions matter. This, in turn, leads to feeling of inclusion and respect. Domino’s was smart enough to take this ongoing dialog, one that many brands limit to social media exclusively or neglect entirely, and enhance with its television ads.

It wasn’t an afterthought. In this case, it was the “big idea.” Many marketers – especially those with limited television and print budgets, would be well served to consider social media the “big idea” and starting point for their marketing programs as well.

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