Domino’s Pizza took a big leap earlier this year by admitting to customers that its old pizza recipe tasted no good, and now it’s pushing the honesty theme even further by splashing images of real pies all over its advertising efforts.

The latest marketing campaign from the pizza company includes a pledge to only show customer-shot pictures of pizzas in advertising.

“No touch ups, no fake food,” says Chris Brandon, spokesman for Domino’s. “We want to present everything authentically and real.”

But with the authenticity has come the reality that not every pizza looks perfect—or even good. In a recent commercial from the company, Domino’s CEO J. Patrick Doyle displays a picture of a less-than-appetizing Domino’s pizza.

Brandon says that while a photo like that could have been swept under the rug and forgotten, Domino’s is maintaining its course of being as transparent as possible with consumers.

“That’s part of honesty,” Brandon says. “We knew that not all of them were going to be perfect, and in fact not only did we basically know that that was probably going to be the case … but as you can see from the latest round of commercials, our CEO has proactively shown that picture to people and said ‘this is not acceptable.’”

In a new video released by Domino’s, the company’s chef, Sam Fauser, visits the home of the unappealing pizza’s photographer, Bryce from Byron, Minnesota, to deliver free pizzas, $500 in Domino’s gift cards, and a note from Doyle.

Brandon says the action Domino’s took with Bryce is one way the company is “making sure that we made it right.”

“We owe that to people,” he says. “We want to speak to our consumers in a way that is honest and transparent and even when it’s not a fun message to deliver, it’s still the right one and an honest one. That’s what we want our brand to stand for.”

Though Domino’s experienced big success with its New and Improved pizza recipe at the beginning of 2010—same-store sales in the first quarter of this year were up 14.3 percent—Brandon says the company has no plans to let up on its consumer-centric marketing strategy.

“Beyond sales numbers and buzz and all of these things we’ve seen big increases in—which are all great—the thing that we’re the most proud of is that people are rediscovering and reconnecting with Domino’s,” he says.

“When you get down to the way we’re speaking with people, that’s what people are taking from it. We’re coming to them in a way that’s genuine. I think right now is as good as a time as ever to relate to people in that way.”

By Sam Oches

Consumer Trends, Marketing & Promotions, Menu Innovations, News, Pizza, Domino's