Charities slam Domino’s ‘cynical’ marketing

Health charities have branded a Domino’s Pizza campaign that encourages families short on time to eat pizza mid-week as “cynical” and “reckless” for positioning a food they claim is unhealthy as an everyday meal.

The spot promotes the ‘Midweek Rescue’ promotion, which offers shoppers 50 per cent off any pizza order over £15.00 when they order during what the company claims is the midweek family rush hour between 4pm and 6pm.

It is based on customer insights according to the business with a nationwide TV campaign also running to show how “Domino’s is the perfect solution for ease and convenience when it comes to surviving the daily grind”.

Charities Sustain, The Heart Forum and Weight Concern have all slammed Domino’s, claiming it is an attempt to market the midweek deal as a regular family meal rather than as an occasional treat.

Charlie Powell, director for Sustain’s Children’s Food Campaign, says: “Encouraging families to eat more pizza is highly irresponsible and can only be bad for children’s, and their parents’, health.”

Jane Landon, deputy chief executive of the Heart Forum, adds: “Marketing these foods as everyday meals rather than occasional treats seems pretty reckless, especially as Domino’s does not provide traffic light signals to show customers how much salt or fat they are getting when they place their order.”

Domino’s has defended the service, claiming “we are a family-friendly brand with our customers using us for once in a while treats – not for everyday purchases.”

A spokesman for the pizza chain adds: “This particular deal provides great value for the whole family to eat at dinner time and hopefully it will ease some of the stress surrounding a work life balance.

“As a brand we understand the importance of a balanced diet and in 2012 we signed up to the Department of Health’s Responsibility Deal pledging to reduce, among other things, salt in our products. We all need a treat from time to time and we are very clear in making available the calorie content of pizzas both at the main point of order and in more detail on our website as well as providing fundamental information on the importance of a balance diet.”

The TV advert uses the brand’s new logo, which was unveiled in the UK for the first time earlier this month (15 March).

Readers' comments (7)

  • Overreaction from the charity. The ad doesn't even hint that you should be eating pizzas every day - it's a straightforward promotion like any other. Maybe Domino's don't feel the urge to patronise the general public about their eating habits.

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  • Some people need to get a grip and stop treating people like children. Adults are more the able to decide if they want to eat pizza or not and if they want to feed it to their children or not. The advert doesn't say eat it every day as common sense dictates that's not wise. Let people take some responsibility for themselves!!

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  • If the charity thinks this is everyday life, then the calories burned from cleaning up, carrying laundry around and playing football should mean that the pizzas are well earned.

    Just an excuse to jump on the band wagon and get some free PR!

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  • Domino's is a company that primarily markets and sells pizza. It is their business. Therefore what else are they going to suggest as a convenient mid week meal? Equally as other comments have referenced the message is not pizza everyday only midweek if you are really busy. For those eating a balanced diet I am sure you could serve a salad on the side.

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  • Common Sense - 1, Charities & Dominoes -Nil. Charities : if you think the self-regulatory codes restricting advertisers are not tight enough, apply pressure in the right place, rather than losing credibility by attacking the advertiser. Dominoes : If you've identified enough opportunity in this insight, good luck to you. The evidence suggests most families are switching to even better value meal options during the week, and that's a fierce battle ground.

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  • I think this has all been blown out of proportion! Domino's have just seen an empty target market, worked with it and produced a good advert. It doesn't say eat pizza every night, just when things get a bit too hectic. The only flaw I found was that you could cook a decent meal in the time is takes for the pizza to be delivered.

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  • It's just a marketing strategy for Domino's.

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