Television's evolution drives Domino’s sales

Story of the film

This film tells the story of how Domino’s pizza used television's evolution to drive pizza sales and build their brand, over 10 years. It's a story of a gold-standard sponsorship, but it also encompasses spot, interactive advertising, on-demand pre-rolls and a range of other liberating TV technologies. Using all of these content opportunities was instrumental to driving the brand’s success. This campaign picked up the Grand Prix at the Thinkbox TV Planning awards 2008

Summary 

When Arena BLM signed a contract with Sky in 1998 for Domino's Pizza to sponsor The Simpsons, the agency knew the deal had huge potential.

Most Simpsons viewers were regular consumers of takeaway food, and The Simpsons was shown on national TV every day of the week at dinner-time. Nevertheless, the sponsorship deal was a huge gamble for Domino's, costing 95% of the brand's advertising budget.

Over the ten year of the campaign sales uplift was spectacular, increasing more than 10% each year from 1997 to 2007 and Domino's increasing its number of UK stores from 125 to 507. The campaign is consistently used as an example of best practice TV sponsorship and has won four IPA awards.

This is a TV-only planning strategy that has not just sold pizza, it effectively built the business in the UK and, hence, was unanimously voted the Grand Prix winner.

The success of the campaign is even more impressive considering that the restrictive advertising laws around foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar meant that Arena BLM couldn't show the product on screen and could only talk about it indirectly, hence the slogan "a fresh slice of family life delivered in 30 minutes". Initial figures for 2008 showed sales up by more than 13%.

The campaign has proved that an association with a fun and popular TV show can give life to a fledgling brand. The Simpsons provided Domino's with personality and charm - the traits large American food brands were felt to be lacking during the late '90s, when the majority of UK consumers preferred to buy takeaways from local pizza and kebab shops.

In 2005, The Simpsons creator Matt Groening himself made a Domino's commercial featuring Homer Simpson tucking into a pizza.

Domino's TV marketing expanded to 26 weeks of advertising a year, but it kept its association with the show throughout the campaign period, securing sponsorship of The Simpsons on Channel 4 in 2006

Film contributors

Titles correct at the time of publish date

  • Robin Auld, Sales & Marketing Director, Domino’s Pizza Group 
  • Pedro Avery, MD of trading and futures, Arena BLM
  • Antony Tagliamonti, Domino’s Pizza Franchisee
  • Laura Langthorne, Account Director, Aream BLM
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