Who Moved The Pizza?

30 Jul,2021


By Sanjeev Kotnala


Sanjeev KotnalaWell, it all started one fine July morning, when Mirabai Chanu from Mizoram, India, won the silver at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. And then she shared she would be eating a Pizza as she has missed eating it because of her rigorous preparation.  Domino was first to the draw, it offered her lifetime free Pizza. In fact, it delivered Pizza to her family at Mizoram and walked all over social media celebrating the act.


If I was the CMO, I would have done the same.


For some inane reason, it did not sit well with many netizens. Domino was criticised for leveraging the marketing opportunity.


An athlete’s career is no different than the marketing funnel. It is like a funnel, which sharply narrows towards the end. Medals are rare. Life is tough. Everything is stipulated, under policy guidelines, and strictly monitored. One may laugh at the pizza thought, but that is totally logical and natural.


Many agencies and sponsors invest in grooming these athletes. They start with a wide set of athletes, knowing only a few will really pass the ultimate test. So, when another brand that has never invested in the athlete exploits such an opportunity, the brands and agencies that did the hard work definitely feel cheated. But, that is part of life. They are doing their job and getting returns. And a Domino kind of brand is doing its job.


Suppose she had mentioned the problem with the local commute and a car company had presented her with a car. In that case, people might have been appreciating rather than trolling. So, is it about the value of the offering? We must understand, the company makes pizzas, and Mirabai showed her desire to have one. They connected the dots and offered what they make. So, where is the problem?


It is stupidity to say that the company should have delivered the pizzas to her home and kept quiet. Are you mad? How many brands get this opportunity? It would be stupid not to amplify and leverage. And they did it as low-key as marketing could allow. The amplification is the free media they earned.

“We are elated that we could share this wonderful moment with @mirabai_chanu’s loved ones. She brought a smile to a billion+ faces, our Domino’s Imphal Team brought a small token of appreciation to celebrate the success with her family,” Domino’s Indian tweeted.


Before anything else, in fact,

Now, pizza is unhealthy, and it will promote bad habits. As if the sale of pizza was dependent on this micro event. Mirabai, herself said it is not part of her diet, and she wishes to have one. Nothing wrong with it.


Mirabai achievement is an individual achievement. But, in many ways, it is a public property of every chest-thumping Indian. And in that position, the opportunity was open to every one of the national and international brands. The opportunity was available for every possible brand in the country. ITC or Oberoi, Indian Railways or Indigo, any brand could have done so. And naturally, the brands must use their resources to their best advantage.


Someone suggested the brand could have given her financial assistance worth a lifetime of Pizza. Well, such a pedestrian thought in the marketing world. It is not that she will eat a pizza every day- but the sound of ‘Lifetime Pizza’ is so good.


OvenStory, Pizza Hut, Chicago Pizza, and many other brands wasted the opportunity. Does Domino’s brand strength have something to do with it? Did they chicken out fearing a reaction? What if they offered the lifetime pizza and Mirabai said she wanted only Domino?


The dice were rolled a long time before she made her innocent desire known. It is about timing. One brand was there, and it pushed the other pizza brands off the grid. The case is adjourned in public but in few offices, the brand team is still trying to justify not exploiting the opportunity.



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