For Domino's, It's Mea (Pizza) Culpa, New Pie For New Year : The Two-Way All Things Considered is doing a segment on celebrity mea culpas in 2009 on its New Year's Eve edition and the idea of high-profile apologies led NPR's Howard Berkes to consider the regrets being expressed not so much by a famous person as a famou...

For Domino's, It's Mea (Pizza) Culpa, New Pie For New Year

All Things Considered had a segment on celebrity mea culpas in 2009 on its New Year's Eve edition and the idea of high-profile apologies led NPR's Howard Berkes to consider the regrets being expressed not so much by a famous person as a famous pizza company.

Here's what Howard wrote to us:

We can be certain apology and repentance are the defining cultural and social themes of 2009 because they've found their way into TV advertising.

Domino's Pizza has a new ad campaign steeped in the notion that confession, rebirth and forgiveness are so mainstream that they will get people eating the company's pizzas again.

All of the apologists of the year came to mind last night as I saw this ad. The commercial began with a customer telling corporate execs that "Domino's pizza crust, to me, tastes like cardboard."

What follows is a corporate confessional. "Most companies hide criticism, but we faced it head on," a company chef then says.

In short, Domino's admits its crust was crap. But then it paves the way for redemption. Pizza makers are shown adding more spices and red pepper to the sauce, and garlic and butter to the dough, and shredding the mozzarella instead of, horror of horrors, dicing the cheese! And then a Domino's exec in an apron says you get your money back, "all of it," if you don't like the new pizza.

It's a $75 million campaign that taps into the Tiger Woods-Mark Sanford-Kanye West-Richard Heene-Bernie Madoff-Michael Phelps-John Ensign-David Letterman-Serena Williams apology-redemption era.

But the confession falls short and may not earn the redemption Domino's execs expect. It admits to crappy crust, but doesn't explain why Domino's sold cardboard crust for years while claiming it to be a tasty treat.

Tiger Woods was and, presumably, still is one of the greatest golfers to ever hold a club. He cheated on his wife and he admitted it. But he's still a damned good golfer.

Domino's starts with crappy crust. That's an enduring image from the commercial. Sure, the company NOW confesses and claims it has better pizza. But Domino's still sold us crappy crust for years and has yet to explain why. That's an apology worth hearing. But it probably won't sell many pizzas.

In any case, there's more about Domino's new confessional campaign that can be found here and here.

Interesting stuff!