Domino’s wanted to make it easier for customers to order pizza, so in 2015 it rolled out a “tweet-to-order” system for customers in the United States. This system allowed U.S. customers to order a pizza by simply tweet the pizza emoji to its Twitter account @Dominos. The new ordering technology was named Domino’s AnyWare and includes ordering with a tweet, a text, Ford Sync, Smart TV’s, and smart watches.
Apart from the Twitter platform, people can also place an order from Domino’s by doing any one of the ways listed below: send emoji to Facebook Messenger “Domino’s Pizza”, open the Domino’s Zero Click app, text emoji to DPIZZA (374992), talk to the music playing device Amazon Echo, use the Domino’s app for Samsung Smart TV while you are watching a show, use Ford SYNC AppLink while you are driving, use smart watches like Apple Watch, Android Wear, and Pebble Smartwatch, the last way is to tell Domino’s app that “I want my easy order”.
This new strategy sounds great. Whatever you are doing – tweeting, walking, driving, watching TV, or even doing chores, you can have the pizza delivered to your front door without calling and waiting on the pizza order hotline. According to the CEO Patrick Doyle, “It’s the epitome of convenience” (Bruce Horovitz, USA Today). However, these simple techniques are just part of the story. In order to place an emoji order, one must have a Domino’s account first, and then fill out his addresses, payment information and connect his Domino’s account to Twitter account to enable ordering by emoji if he wanted to use Twitter to order. It’s not finished yet; the customer also needed to have an “Easy Order”, a saved preference of his order of choice, which means he must have placed an order before.
However, for those who were attracted by the brand new simple way of ordering pizza broadcasted by Domino’s ads, not all of them have had worked with Domino’s before. Now they came to Domino’s to seek for an easy way to enjoy pizza, it actually turned out that they have to go through some complicated steps to set up their “easy future.” I would give up when I was told that I need to set up a Domino’s account; I would rather to call a local Domino’s store to order my pizza.
Domino’s Tweet-A-Pizza is no more than a PR stunt, in my opinion. The way to order pizza brought up by Domino’s was not that simple as they told the public. “Easy Order” is not that much easy, because apart from the setup process, customers are only allowed to place one combination style in one “Easy Order” profile and that if they wanted another flavor of pizza and drink, they need to create another “Easy Order”. I am a typical member of the younger generation – use the smartphone, have most of the social media accounts you can think of, used to the assorted apps; it still took me almost one hour to figure out Domino’s emoji pizza order system. Not to mention that I haven’t started to implement these steps yet.
Domino’s ads words did not disclose the whole story; they just wanted to attract public’s attention and leave a good impression on them. This is why I said before that this campaign is just a PR stunt. The Tweet-A-Pizza system was not as great as it sounds. This lead me think one of the most important ethical issues in public relations– openness and disclosure. No one likes to be cheated, but many cases of advertising or public relations are ambiguous. Is PR campaign strategical or cheating? Many PR professionals think that do not tell a lie to the mass will put them in a safe place, however, not disclose the full story is also a dishonest behavior.
In this case, for example, the customers were told that they could place an order by simply send or tweet a pizza emoji to Domino’s related presence, so when they did so they were expecting that Domino’s rep will reply them and guide them to next steps to collect their information like addresses and order detail. Like most people, I thought I could get a pizza without visiting Domino’s website. However, things turned out that we still need to visit their campaign page AnywareDominos.com and read through the tedious instructions.
If I wanted a pizza, I must be hungry and all I need is to get the pizza. Too much brain work will make me irritated; many other people must share the same opinion with me, I believe. I was lucky in that I did not read through the instruction page for the sake of pizza. So I was very patient to figure them out. But I still became annoyed when I got to know there were a Domino’s “Pizza Profile” and “Easy Pizza” waited for me to finish. These extra steps were never mentioned in the ads word, none of them. If I knew their existence, I would not connect this order system to the concept of convenience.
Is the selective disclosure a wise PR strategy? I do not believe so. A good PR campaign should be honest and transparent. Domino’s tweet to order idea was actually interesting and I liked it. If it was not the feeling of being treated made me irritated, I would definitely support this campaign.