Why Domino’s is awarding half a million dollars in snow plowing grants

Why Domino’s is awarding half a million dollars in snow plowing grants

Domino’s today (Dec. 4) announced plans to award $500,000 in grants for snow plowing to ensure that carryout customers can access the pizza chain despite the worst of winter weather. Consumers can submit their zip code to apply for a grant, and the chain will dole out $25,000 to 20 cities throughout the season. 

The “Plowing for Pizza” program is already underway in Erie, Pennsylvania; Marquette, Michigan; and Manhattan, Montana. The other award-winning cities will also receive winter hats, scarves and other branded, season-specific merchandise, plus $200 in Domino’s gift cards.

The campaign follows several marketing efforts from the chain that have focused on making carryout and delivery as easy as possible for consumers, including an Apple CarPlay integration, a Pinpoint Delivery system and a series of “Emergency Pizza” offerings. The latest effort is the spiritual successor to a 2018 campaign, “Paving for Pizza,” that saw Domino’s repair roads in municipalities across the country to protect the integrity of its pizzas on the drive home.

Marketing Dive spoke with Kate Trumbull, Domino’s chief brand officer, and Matt Talbot, co-founder and chief creative officer at agency of record WorkInProgress, about how “Plowing for Pizza” came together, the challenge of balancing different priorities in the brand’s ads and more. 

This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

MARKETING DIVE: How did Domino’s and WorkInProgress develop “Plowing for Pizza?”

KATE TRUMBULL: I think about “Paving for Pizza,” so this is kind of a second act. With both of those, we’re always looking to prove our obsession with ensuring nothing gets in the way of our customers and hot delicious pizza, and that no one goes as far as Domino’s in the name of hot pizza. I think actions like this really mean something more to consumers — you don’t see it coming, it’s really unexpected. 

There are so many places to get pizza, but we think there are ways to earn customers’ loyalty. We’re not only giving you the best, hottest pizza experience and showcasing it through work like this, but we’re taking relevant brand-building actions that matter to consumers. 

We always say people like you for what you say, but they’ll love you for what you do. That’s the reason why the work is grounded in similar insights to “paving” around convenience and ease for consumers. [Carry-out consumers] are willing to do the work in the name of bringing home the best possible meal. We wanted to find other ways to give them the ability to gain control in situations when they feel out of control. 

MATT TALBOT: We are continuously trying to prove our commitment to carry out. In the current space, plowing being a spiritual successor to paving is a way to show how seriously we take the experience.

Some of the ad creative was shot last winter. How usual is that long of a timeline?

TALBOT: Creatively, we’re always looking at both the short-term wins and then long-term planning. We’re not afraid of ideas that take a year or years to do, whether it’s building a car or building a piece of technology or finding roads. I think that is unique and has allowed us to do more meaningful and groundbreaking things because we can invest in the long term. This idea is not as extreme, but it still takes a lot of work to communicate with these cities. You have to build in that time, otherwise you just can’t execute things like this. 

TRUMBULL: Sometimes you have to and want to do the short-term things to be relevant with what’s happening in culture in the moment. But I think when you’re trying to do things that are meaningful actions and not easy gimmicks — everyone can do easy gimmicks — that is not short-term. There’s no way around it. You want to be looking at trends and culture in the moment and not be afraid to move quickly. But at the same time, there are things like Pinpoint Delivery; that kind of technology doesn’t happen overnight, either.

What is the challenge of messaging around some of those tech developments?

TALBOT: We run a lot of 15-second spots, so sometimes, it’s just a time constraint. But for us, it’s not always about whether they will use the technology or whether it has to be instructional or drive adoption: it’s about making the brand top of mind and memorable. 

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