A story of epic proportions

Updated: Nov 24 2005, 05:30am hrs
Thank God for small mercies. Thank God that the pizza was not discovered in the days of Ramayana. Imagine a situation where the conscientious Jatayu, instead of trying to save a hapless Sita from the clutches of Ravana, decides to gorge on his Dominos pizza, leaving her to fend for herself.

That, in a nutshell, is the storyboard of the latest television commercial (TVC) from Dominos India (2004 turnover: Rs 120 crore), hawking its new offeringthe cheese-burger pizza, which has a burger patty tucked between the two thin pizza crusts. We wanted to identify a situation which besides being entertaining, was also relevant to the masses, says Contract Advertising, the agency on the account.

Adds Ajay Kaul, chief executive officer, Dominos India, The product brings together two of the most popular fast food concepts (burger and pizza) in an innovative manner. Indeed. Dominos has been relentless in launching innovative offeringsand not just in terms of toppings/flavours, but also in tweaking the concept of the basic pizza. Case in point, the Double Cheez Crunch pizza that was launched in May this year. With a dominating 60 % share of the Rs 120-crore pizza delivery market (the total pizza market in India stands at Rs 275 crore), Dominos clearly knows how to keep the phone ringing.

Consumers are looking for value - and definitely not more of the same, says an executive with a rival fast food company. Constant innovation is the only way you can stay in the game, he adds. Regular promotional offerings like these have also kept the Dominos brand top-of-mind and competition on the backfoot.

But the market didnt fall on its lap just like that. For those who have tracked Dominos history in India the two clear phases that emerge are the pre- and post-2000 years. When it entered India in the mid-nineties, Dominos had little idea about what consumers wanted and the price they were willing to pay for it. The company brass admitted that in so many words in various media interviews.

Since then, Dominos has rewritten its rate- and menu cards, and as a result, its scorecard in India. In the last five years, while the prices have been cut by as much as 40 per cent, more desi flavours have joined the ranks to lure customers unaccustomed with the ways of the traditional pizza.

The companys seriousness about the Indian market can be gauged from the fact that as much as 35 per cent of its offerings are typically Indian (such as peppy paneer, tandoori chicken and chicken chettinad pizza).

Its advertising has reinforced the shift in the companys strategy. Dominos launched its first TVC only in 2000 asking consumers Hungry Kya. The idea was to establish the pizza as an alternative to home-cooked food. In the next phase, the company drummed up the 30-minutes-or-free proposition, followed more recently by an effort to promote the pizza as an anytime snack.

The cheese burger campaign successfully weaves in two other messages in the story. The 30-minutes-or-free and the highly recalled tana na na ree score, in a way, reinforce the Dominos effect. The new campaign will run for the next three months. It will target television and print extensively with an investment of around Rs 5 crore.