That moment when you realize you didn’t get a deal after all hits you with a smirk and a tinge of anger. You know that kind of deal that goes something like, “$5ea or two for $10!” Yeah, bud, i can math just fine. Well, that moment finally hit the people at Domino’s when they realized their carryout deal was great, except on weekends when they’d hit you for regular price. Boom.

So in an effort to makeup for their mistake they launched a rather fun Pizza Payback campaign steered by the minds at CP+B. The campaign makes the apology then introduces some of the rad ideas for payback: a huge Domino’s “Night Light”, a year of free pizza, and other zany prizes all adorn the spot and accompanying sweepstakes website. The site encourages you to select your perfect payback for a chance to win.

The creative is on point, as usual from CP+B, however; this is a clear demonstration of the problem with the discount/deal mentality. In the race to the bottom, restaurant brands in the highly competitive space of Pizza turn to the quick hit, yet highly damaging, tactics of slashing prices. The move strips them of any brand equity or any brand power by relegating it to another Blanker brand. (A Blanker brand is one that exists solely associatively as in “lower than,” “better than,” or “cheaper than.” Thanks Denise Lee Yohn for that!) Rather than striving for leadership through a more visceral connection, Domino’s jumps right in the price game.

Pizza brands’ obsession with discounting as a business strategy continues to surprise me. When there are truly better options popping up left and right, you’d think they’d continue to focus on the benefits offered by being so large. They could make a bigger, more prevalent community impact. They could raise the bar on how their employees are compensated and treated – this would spark positively in brand ambassadors. What does this do for the brand long term? Nothing. It sinks the ship a little bit more. Sure, the immediate returns may be there, but what happens with Pizza Hut goes cheaper? Then Papa Johns? Now what? You’re simply playing the Cheaper Than brand role and that ship won’t float forever.

Although they’ve dolled it up quite nicely, let’s call this campaign exactly what it is, another discount-driven push to try to drive up revenue in the short term. It’s fun to watch. It’s fun to interact with, but it does nothing but bad for the brand long term.

Side note: I got Pizza Hut this weekend.

Created by CP+B for Domino’s