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Letting the Domino's Fall Where They May

I'm a sucker for heartfelt marketing. I'm also a self-proclaimed pizza connoisseur. If it has eight slices, color me interested. That's why I was so smitten with Domino's latest marketing campaign. If you haven't seen the spot yet, check it out below.

"We know that not everything is gonna work," says Andy Wetzel of the Product Innovation team. For God's sake, this is a pizza company! How many pizza shops do you know who are willing to deviate so far from their core competency to potentially be deemed a failure by their customers?

This commercial embodies everything marketing should be in 2014. They're a massive corporation, sure, but this advertising is self-deprecating, transparent, courageous and, above all else, humble. Incredibly enough, this ad is the most disruptive commercial on the air right now because it has nothing more than good manners and a startling lack of hubris. The idea in question - essentially a pizza with fried chicken instead of dough - certainly may be a tremendous failure. And as per usual, the Twitterverse is ripe with opinions.

Perhaps the world isn't ready. But there is so much snark and spite in today's social world, innovators are often the first to receive criticism. That's where the genius of this ad campaigns is apparent. Of course people are going to think it's stupid. We live in a world where Philadelphia football fans boo Santa Claus and people buy Nickelback concert tickets just to heckle. 

Here is the other part of this marketing approach that fascinates me: there is a limit to how often this card can be played. Emotional appeal is a powerful agent in the ad world, but if every company said they are rolling a product out their customers might not like, then they run the risk of drying up the well of goodwill.

Asking for preemptive sympathy won't always be successful.

But today, we should tip our cap to the Domino's marketing team. They are doing something different. They're innovating. Yes, this is a pizza chain that is simply putting some other unhealthy stuff on top of fried chicken. But in a vacuum, this is an established brand going out on a limb with a product that could catch them some serious flak.

Failure is always an option if you're willing to roll the dice.

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