Domino's Tells Customers They're Not Always Right

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Domino's is saying "no," literally, when it comes to the whims of picky pizza eaters.

The popular pizza delivery company says it will no longer make changes to its line of artisan pizzas for individual customers and is announcing it in a bold new TV ad campaign that says "No!" to customers.

The national ad campaign will launch Thursday and aim to send the message that after 50 years in the pizza business, its chefs got this recipe right, the company said.

"It comes from confidence in our artisan pizza recipe," Domino's spokesman Chris Brandon told  "What makes this unique is that these pizzas are created to a specific recipe.  Our chefs created the artisan recipes so they're preset and that's what this whole campaign is all about."

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At the center of the "No" campaign is the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based chain's new Chicken & Bacon Carbonara Artisan pizza, the latest in the artisan pie line they debuted in the fall, part of an effort to expand its offerings and upgrade its image as a maker of high-quality pizza.  More than 80 percent of the items on the Domino's menu are new since 2008, Brandon said.

The company completed a redesign in 2010 of its 50-year-old pizza with a new crust, new cheese and new sauce based on customer feedback that the product could be better. "We completely invented it from the crust up," Brandon said of the 2010 effort.  "After the new pizza launch, we looked at the whole menu and how it could be improved and added to and that's what we've done since."

Customers in the chain's 9,541 franchised and company-owned stores throughout the United States will still be able to order their regular pizzas any way they want, but the artisan will come prepared. A voiceover in the new ad, created by ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky, notes that the company spent years "perfecting the balance on our artisan crust toppings."

"There's more than 30 million ways to make a single Domino's pizza," Brandon said.  "We've always said yes to those but our artisan pizza, what makes it unique, is that it was designed to be a recipe in itself."

The whole payoff of the campaign is that 'no' is the new "yes,'" he said.   "What we're trying to get across is that what we want our consumers to get the best experience possibly by either trying something new," he added.

Brandon acknowledged the company will make exceptions and remove toppings for people with food allergies, but said that is it.

"If somebody is allergic or really needs or wants a product removed, we'll remove it," he said.  "We'll accommodate that for sure but we won't be adding anything."

Upending the long-held customer service mantra that the customer is always right is a bold move for the company that has had success with the "Oh Yes We Did" tagline it introduced with the 2010 pizza reinvention.

In its last fiscal year, Domino's Pizza Inc. reported its full-year earnings rose 20 percent to $105.4 million, and its annual revenue increased 5 percent to $1.65 billion from the last fiscal year.

"We'll see," Brandon said the potential for customer backlash from the "No!" ads.  "It's definitely a unique campaign but one that people who have been following Domino's have seen that we've had a very honest and transparent way of talking with customers so I think they'll understand what we mean with this campaign."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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