Oreo Pizza

The ill-fated Oreo Pizza from Domino’s.

Recently, Domino’s Pizza released a commercial for Specialty Chicken that celebrates innovation with the concept that failure is an option.  They even take a jab at themselves, with a Domino’s chef holding up a failed product: the cookie pizza.  With both Papa John’s and Pizza Hut rolling out their own cookie pizzas, the commercial seems well-timed.  But was this cookie reference just a witty one-liner, or possibly a comment aimed at Domino’s competition?

According to Matti Leshem, the CEO of Protagonist, whether or not Domino’s intended to, they’re treating pizza cookies as something that would never work.  Back in 2007, Domino’s sold the Oreo Dessert Pizza, which failed to catch on in the marketplace.  While highlighting failed products could be a risky move, by being transparent about previous shortcomings, customers could be more likely to trust Domino’s new products, like the Specialty Chicken.  While chicken is a hot item across the fast-food and pizza industry, Domino’s has managed to use the commercial to ensure that its new dish is still connected with the Domino’s brand.  Companies that don’t underestimate their consumers’ intelligence are going to end up leading.

According to Domino’s spokesman Tim McIntyre, the cookie pizza crack in the most recent commercial wasn’t meant to be a jab at either Papa John’s or Pizza Hut, and was only meant to show that Domino’s isn’t afraid of innovation.  The competitors aren’t biting, claiming that they don’t view the commercial as a reference to their own products.  If you didn’t know  about the cookie pizza (most people seemed to have erased it from their memories), then this commercial looks pretty smart.  But if you happened to know that cookie pizza was actually a product, then you’d realize how clever the ad actually is.