Typically, pizza boxes house hot pies on their journey from store to customer, then are tossed in the recycling bin or trash can. In October, however, Domino’s teamed up with Google to transform the humble pizza box into a tool for influencer-driven unboxing videos, combining the new Google Pixel 4 smartphone and pizza to generate social media traffic.

The concept of the campaign was simple: Online influencers received a custom Domino’s box containing a hot pizza and—in a special top compartment—a Google Pixel 4. Recipients were then guided by instructions printed on the interactive box to explore their new smartphone while snacking on a slice of pizza via the device’s hands-free capabilities. A side-order box filled with accessories like a special edition phone case was also delivered, complete with a slot in the top that held the Pixel 4 upright for easy recording. Influencers then shared their videos across social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube, tagging the brands in their creations.

The campaign resulted in more than 65 million impressions across social media and through public relations efforts, as well as a follow-up Cyber Monday event in Miami in November. The campaign is not only an example of using the unboxing video trend to bump sales, but it also shows how foodservice companies can reach across industries to capitalize on other brands that share similar goals. Here are some tips sourced from the partnered campaign, shared by Google Pixel marketing director Zach Overton and Domino’s director of public relations Jenny Fouracre-Petko.

Find a format in need of a refresh, then innovate

YouTube, Instagram, and other social media platforms with video-sharing capabilities are commonplace. Google and Domino’s worked to freshen up the phenomenon of the unboxing video, as well as the process of getting a new phone, by kickstarting the creation of unique, pizza-infused content.

“As a challenger brand in the mobile phone space, we are looking to shake up industry norms. The unboxing trend has become predictable, and so has the experience of getting a new phone. We wanted to reimagine both of those experiences in a clever way,” Overton says.

Instead of simply debuting the phone’s new features, the brands enticed users to learn the ins and outs of the new device in a fun, interactive, customizable way—with a personal, shareable video.

Locate the right audience

Initially, Domino’s and Google sent the pizza-smartphone combo box to around 100 influencers and celebrities, and more than 5,000 retail associates. To kick off the campaign, the brand partnered with famous YouTubers Josh Peck, the Merrell twins, and King Vader to show off the Domino’s-Google unboxing experience, hot pizza, and the new smart device.

After the first round of influencer unboxing videos, regular customers began posting to social media, asking the brands if they could get in on the fun and snag a pizza-phone combo, too. That’s when the idea for a consumer-targeted Cyber Monday event in Miami took off.

“[The Cyber Monday] promotion included $200 off the Pixel 4, plus free pizza and delivery in the custom box. The partnership allowed Google and Domino’s to leverage both brands’ areas of expertise to deliver something unique and fun,” Fouracre-Petko says. “We’re grateful for the chance to explore new territory, learn fast, and continue to innovate.”

Don’t shy away from forming unique partnerships or taking risks

The idea for the pizza-Pixel 4 campaign was dreamed up by the Google team when they were searching for a way to turn the unboxing experience on its head and creatively exhibit the potential uses of their new device.

Overton says Domino’s was a perfect partner because of the pizza chain’s tech-savvy reputation and iconic, sturdy box, as well as the fact that its cutting-edge delivery techniques could get the Pixel 4 in the hands of influencers and consumers as quickly as possible.

Even if a company is smaller than Domino’s or Google, Fouracre-Petko recommends looking outside the box for distinctive partnerships and unique digital opportunities.

“We would encourage other brands to take risks and not be afraid to challenge the status quo. There’s an appetite and room for foodservice brands of all sizes to play in this space,” she says.

Customer Experience, Fast Food, Pizza, Story, Technology, Domino's