Domino's: Dial-a-Pizza to Click-a-Pizza?

By Saumya Tewari , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | May 23, 2014
In its latest campaign, Domino's pushes its digital platform and highlights the convenience of online ordering.

For the longest time, the good ol' telephone has been the conduit through which one was urged to reach Domino's. Remember the brand's 'Happiness Hotline' campaign? But, in keeping with the recent increase in internet penetration and availability of low cost smartphones, the brand promotes its website as the best platform to place one's order through.

Harneet Singh Rajpal

Suresh Eriyat

Recall that Domino's launched its online ordering service in August 2011. Currently, 20 per cent of the company's delivery business comes from the online medium, of which orders through smartphones comprise a share of 20 per cent. So far, the brand's app has crossed the 16 lakh downloads.

Harneet Singh Rajpal, vice president, marketing Domino's India, tells afaqs! why investing in the online ordering platform was a calculative and futuristic move. "We launched our online ordering service in india, at a time when the e-commerce trend hadn't taken off here. After carefully studying other Domino's markets - in the US, UK, Japan and Korea - we invested in resources to arm our stores for online delivery in this market as well," he states, saying the brand's 30-minutes delivery promise was launched "way before Flipkart or Amazon promised single-day delivery."

In a move to encourage consumers to use the website to place their pizza orders, the QSR brand has recently launched three TVCs. The team is calling it the 'OLO' - (for OnLine Ordering) - campaign. So far, the brand promoted its website through digital channels.

All three films highlight the element of convenience. Interestingly, each film shows a different device through the website is accessed - smartphone in the 'Fukhronwala' film (that features a group of young friends), tablet in the 'Marriedwala' film (that features a young couple) and laptop in the 'Surprisewala' film (that features siblings).

The films caught our attention for three reasons: Firstly, the 'first person' camera angle; the TV viewer sees a finger on the screen placing the order, the way he/she would see his/her own while doing the same. Secondly, through the three films, the brand depicts its TG across age groups. And thirdly, there's something very 'digital' about the films; they try and capture the way today the internet has infiltrated every pocket of our lives - notice, for instance, how the siblings in one of the ads are on a Skype call?

The spokesperson at Contract Advertising, the agency that has created this campaign, tells us the brand's online ordering option comes with key benefits that most people are unaware of: One can do a cashless transaction, send a pizza to someone in a different city, and place an order for one's 'pre-loaded favourite' with just one click.

"Playing up these benefits became the premise of the communication," said the agency spokesperson. The challenge for the agency was to create communication that had a clear 'online feel' to it, as opposed to the 'family and friends setting', 'home setting' or 'campus setting' that Domino's otherwise operates in. And the agency was required to do this while retaining the broader brand essence, 'Rishton ka time'.

The agency ensured the website, and not the pizzas per se, emerged as the hero of the story. The execution had to bring out "the ease of navigation" and "make the website the main visual of the film." Live animation and computer graphics were used to this end.

Reminding us that Domino's operates in the "impulse category", Rajpal says, "You can see the visuals of the pizza being laden with the toppings, being added to the cart and getting delivered. We've used technology to show different screens and stages of the ordering process."

Suresh Eriyat, founder and director of Eeksaurus, a production house, has directed the films. He explains that while the brand's 'Yeh hai rishton ka time' proposition encourages people to bond over food, the online space is considered to be responsible for isolating individuals from one other. Thus, the objective, he tells us, was to "showcase how relationships are strengthened through this interface."

"Unlike stand-alone menus," he says, "here the consumer can customise and save the settings of their favourite orders." His team used "table top shots" - (shots filmed from above while thr product rests on a flat surface/aerial view shots) - in order to lay more emphasis on the ingredients being used.

Domino's has also introduced a 'tracking mechanism' through which consumers can - no, not track which lane the delivery man has entered - track whether their pizza has been prepared, baked, packed and dispatched.

Rajpal tells us that till now over a million customers have ordered online. Wich demographic do these individuals belong to? The mix, we learn, comprises collegians, office goers and families. Those who order online typically fall in the 15 to 40 years age bracket.

Domino's Pizza is presence in 150 cities with 726 stores across the country.

"The phenomenon of online ordering is not restricted to metro cities," Rajpal clarifies, "The response to our OLO platform is heartening as mobile internet has penetrated smaller cities and online orders are increasing by the day in Tier II and Tier III cities."

The company plans to open 150 stores in this financial year.


Shamsuddin Jasani

Manish Porwal

According to Shamsuddin Jasani, managing director, Isobar India, a digital marketing agency, the campaign "has done a good job of putting across the basic idea of ordering online." He adds, however, "While it has communicated the core idea very well, I don't know if it will entice someone to change the way they order pizzas."

About the execution, he says, "Visually, the ads are good and do the job they are intended to do," adding, "I would have added a call-to-action segment at the end or promoted an offer to entice them as this is an impulse purchase and an offer-driven category."

The first-time buyer, he reasons, should be given something that will make him/her change his/her "buying behaviour."

Manish Porwal, managing director, Alchemist Marketing & Talent Solutions, a marketing services company, is impressed. "Domino's, for years, has stayed true to its proposition, one that makes it as much of a service as a product," he says.

OLO, he opines, extends the service from voice (ordering through the phone) to clicks (ordering through the net).

The ads, he says, "don't break clutter with cheeky lines or humour-packed punches," but are effective nonetheless. "As a consumer, I feel 'relevant' to them and as a marketer, I feel like they know what message to highlight," he says.

Porwal notices four subliminal messages in the films - "the 'lava' (a dessert item on the menu), the speed of delivery, the ability to store and re-order favourites and the ease of site navigation."

The campaign, he feels, will "generate trials."

"Unifiers" or elements that unify all three ads would have been nice, according to Porwal.

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