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Baylor students sound off on Domino's new taste change

Jan. 22, 2010

By Racquel Joseph

By now, almost everyone can smell what Domino's Pizza is cooking ,and it is supposed to be delicious. Sometimes known for lack-luster pizza, the past failings of Domino's have now been immortalized in a new advertising campaign.

The new campaign features top management's reactions to comments and video clips of the American public accusing their kitchens of producing ketchup-tasting sauce and cardboard crust.

The ad then becomes sunny with upbeat music and high-fiving employees celebrating a freshly baked, "inspired, new" pizza pie. As it turns out, many Baylor students disapproved of Domino's just as much as the rest of America.

"You would pick up the hard crust and the cheese would just run. I stopped eating Domino's years ago," Houston freshman Jasmine Jones said.

Jones is exactly the consumer that Domino's is trying to reach. Jennifer Floyd, Domino's marketing leader for Central and South Texas, describes the campaign as "a risk [Domino's] needed to take."

Floyd describes the campaign as "a little bit different" from the typical "new and improved" slogans that most consumers are familiar with because "[the pizza] is our core product."

By tampering with their bread and butter, the company is hoping customers will taste the difference.

"The problem is, now every time people taste [Domino's] pizza, they'll be more critical," Dallas senior Jeremy Taylor said.

On Wednesday afternoon, standing around three of Domino's large cheese pizzas, students gathered at the Bill Daniel Student Center for a not-so-scientific survey of campus reaction to the campaign.

Twenty-four students were asked to rate the three main components of pizza (cheese, sauce, and crust) on a scale of 1 to 10 and comment freely. The most popular of the components, with an average of 8 out of 10, was the crust. Nashville, Tenn., sophomore Jake Peterson was particularly impressed.

"I could eat this crust all day," Peterson said.

Other students who had managed to escape the campaign were surprised.

"The new pizza shocked me; this crust is good," Flower Mound freshman Caleb Dameron said of his first bite.

After some hesitant licks at the sauce, the advertised hint of spice and reduced amount of sauce seemed to be a hit all around.

The consensus was mostly, but not entirely positive and many students agreed that Domino's would now be a consideration when choosing to order pizza.

It seems that, among Baylor students, Domino's has leveled the playing field, bumping themselves from last-resort cheap slice to a taste preference. Which is exactly what they were aiming for according, to Dr. Andrea Dixon, executive director of the Keller Center for Research and the Center for Professional Selling and associate professor of marketing.

"[Domino's Pizza] has made a dramatic strategy change by moving from a focus on price and convenience to competing based on quality and enjoyment of the product," Dixon said.

No matter what they thought of the pizza's taste, students are talking about the campaign.

"It's a good idea," Edgard, La., freshman Terrance Nathan said, pointing at his friend's disappearing slice of Domino's pizza. "Improvement is always good and they're talking about improvement."