What do you think of this TV spot?

Okay….so what do you think of this spot?  Effective?  Memorable?  Buzz worthy? 

Would it make you order the pasta?

If Dominos hired you to critique this spot, what would you say — pro and con?  It’s always risky to create a "character" that might be more memorable than your product.  Sometimes it works — like Wendy’s "where’s the beef?" spot from 1984.  But sometimes, it bombs like the sock puppet from (can you fill in the blank before you watch the spot?) _______.

Will the dancing Pasta guy suffer the same fate?

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25 comments on “What do you think of this TV spot?

  1. Anatomy comparisons aside, this seems like a weak ad – is the pasta dude really going to work for them? I guess the best part (violence aside), is when Mom whacks the dude – overdramatic characters are often humorous.

    I had to cheat and click on the link above to fill in the blank – so the sock puppet didn’t really work in my book.

    Surely the Energizer Bunny (annoyance aside) has endured as a longlasting symbol tightly associated with their brand (no one calls it “the bunny” but the name “Energizer” is always included so that really helps). I just don’t think the Pasta Dude is on track for the same success.

  2. David Reich says:

    Pretty lame… and annoying. This is one spot I’d zap past.

  3. I think the spot did it’s job to inform us all of their pastas. I didn’t know they had pastas and I work (as a driver for their competition in the pizza industry). They blew it if they hope to use this “character” over and over again when he got whacked with the tennis racket!

  4. I always wonder the same thing when I see ads like this: 1) why am I not a bazillionaire if someone got paid a lot of money to create this drivel? 2) If this is the best ad that got approval (what was the VP of Marketing a Dominos thinking??!!)what were the ones that were rejected?

  5. Randy,

    Oh good. I was a little worried that I was the only guy who had noticed the anatomy issue.

    I agree…funny characters that go over the top can be very memorable. I’m not so sure this guy is funny (although the mom going nuts is sort of amusing).

    I’m with you. Don’t think pasta dude will be in the advertising hall of fame!


  6. Kevin,

    I had to watch it a couple times to wrap my arms around it as well. It seems like a stretch at best.

    But we’ll see how the sales go. I guess that will tell us. Or will it? Would you have been as inclined (or more inclined) if they’d just talked about/showed the pasta?


  7. David,

    You and me both!


  8. Pizza Dreamer —

    Love your blog’s vision, first off.

    Secondly — true, we now know Dominos has pasta. The question is will it motivate people to buy?

    I’ll bet the pasta guy has some sort of super power that allows him to bounce back!


  9. Carolyn,

    I know….me too. And I envision the ad execs presenting this idea, acting it out or whatever and I wonder how in the world the client got tricked into buying it.

    A weird business for sure!


  10. Mario,

    Dominos isn’t the only chain offering pasta. I think Pizza Hut is as well.

    So I would assume they did do their research or they wouldn’t have both jumped on board.

    Or we’d hope so!


  11. Jackie says:

    Well, suffice to say, the characters in the ad don’t even agree as to whether or not the “mascot” is appropriate. The son thinks the pasta dude is “tight,” while the mom slams the little guy with a tennis racket. First, if you’re going to market something, shouldn’t you maintain the same opinion toward the product throughout the advertisement?

    Now, this is just basic marketing theory. You wouldn’t want to confuse the consumer. Really, you can never OVERestimate your consumer. Sometimes it’s just easier to tell it like it is.

    And what does rap have to do with pasta anyhow?

  12. Jackie,

    The whole thing sort of loses me. I have to think parents are the target audience. Kids will buy/order pizza. But mom or dad are the ones who are going to order pasta.

    So the rap connection seems misplaced to me. And the tennis racket abuse reminded me a little of Mr. Bill from Saturday Night Live. In general, one does not want to beat up their spokesperson!


  13. Vickie says:

    I always thought Domino’s sold pizza to high school and college kids? Pasta is a family meal. They got thier spokesman all wrong. I don’t believe Pasta Dude is going to apeal to mothers. I’m with the mom in the ad – wack him one and hope he never comes back. I would fast-forward thru this spot in a heartbeat. And honestly, when I’m looking for a fast wholesome meal for my family, I would not consider Dominos and this ad just confirms my decision.


  14. Chris Posey says:

    Ah, pretty forgettable.

  15. Cale says:

    Ugh, that was painful to watch.

    First of all, Carolyn’s comments are hilarious and dead-on. Can you imagine what other spots must have been axed in favor of this one?

    But as for this whole pizza-shop-making-pasta phenomenon… I’m just waiting for Laura Ries to stomp all over this.

    There are two huge challenges with this extension (and probably many more):

    1.) Convincing us a pizza company can make decent pasta–which I assume is why Pizza Hut keeps running their punk’d-ya spots.

    But seriously, all I can imagine is a bunch of execs sitting around saying, we’ve got all these ovens, what else can we bake in there?

    And then by some stroke of sheer brilliance–one of those magical business moments–someone’s mother was pulling out some fresh three-cheese rigatoni and then it all clicked…

    Just imagine if mum had been making enchiladas that evening.

    2.) Making us think of pasta as a legit delivery meal.

    Maybe this is more common in larger cities, but who thinks of pasta when it’s 7:30 and everyone’s starving? Heck, who thinks of it when planning a delivery meal two days in advance? Where does pasta fit into this?

    I just don’t get it. Pizza Hut makes pizza. Domino’s makes pizza. I don’t trust them to do much else.

    Now, had Pizza Hut launched a pasta delivery-focused brand, that might have worked. Maybe.

    And yeah, TV spots like the one you shared won’t help much. Ugh, I am not looking forward to that interrupting my Monday Night Football experience.

  16. Chris says:

    Is this even a real commercial. Making rap parodies is a pretty lame attempt at creativity, but people still laugh at “Who let the dog’s out?” rip offs so who am I to judge what works. The pasta looks more like a breadstick than anything else – I had no idea that it was supposed to be pasta. I couldn’t even understand what the “pasta dude” was saying anyway, I thought he was saying “prostitute.”

  17. Vickie,

    I agree with you on the pasta=mom point. No teenager is going to order pasta from a pizza place. I wonder if they thought the pasta rapper would get kids to ask their parents for the pasta?

    It feels very off strategy as well.


  18. Chris,

    I agree…not a spot I want to watch over and over.


  19. Cale,

    So following your thought process — if the Pizza Huts and Dominos execs of the world are being asked to do some product extension and generate new revenue — what else would you buy from a pizza place?

    They already have wings, breadsticks, pop, etc. How could they expand their menu? Or do you think they’ve about hit their limit?


  20. Dr. Wright —

    No argument here. The strategy and key messages seem almost in conflict.

    A bad showing for sure.


  21. Cale says:


    I wonder if the wings extension is even profitable for these fellas? I’m willing to bet no, but I’d be curious to know.

    I’m thinking out loud here:

    I don’t know what else you buy from a pizza place, other than pizza. Sides make some sense, such as breadsticks and soda… but pasta?

    The Pizza Tracker showed us both how a little creativity can change the game while enhancing your brand, rather than diluting it with awkward product extensions.

    Besides, expanded menus don’t inherently equal more profit, right?

    Off the top of my head, I don’t know what else I’d buy from a pizza place, but it’s not pasta, just as much as it’s not lotto tickets or beef jerky.

    What do you think Drew? I’m open to suggestions as to the pasta premise itself, but it just doesn’t feel like a long run strategy… rather, it has all the feelings of a short term “let’s throw some stuff at wall and see if it sticks.”

    Just feels cheap and very unremarkable.

    Not sure how coherent that all was, but I’d like to know what you think about the “more revenue by adding extensions” issue.

    As always, thanks for the discussion sparks.

  22. Chris,

    Ahh, you had me laughing out loud. Prostitute. Now that would be a very different sort of product extension for DOminos!


  23. I hate to say it, but I think Pasta Dude’s headed the way of the Taco Bell Chihuahua (sp?).

    Might be cute and funny, but I’d be VERY surprised if it did what the Domino’s folks are hoping it’ll do.

  24. Cale,

    I think that wings and breadsticks sorts of sides make sense. Dominos is doing sandwiches now too, I think.

    That sort of feels like a decent fit. But the pasta is a mom thing, not a teen thing. Feels off. And, harder to still taste good, after being driven around for 30 minutes.

    So like you, I think that one’s off strategy. But I will bet they did research and people said they’d buy it. Goes to prove that what people say they will do and what they actually will do — sometimes not the same thing.


  25. Chestin,

    So then the question becomes…is it the creative’s fault or was the premise that Dominos customers would buy pasta from them flawed?

    Wonder which will get the blame?


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