Will a mobile game and free pizza combo deliver sales for Domino’s?

Discussion
Source: "Domino's Beautifully Easy" ad
Apr 12, 2018
Matthew Stern

Pizza is widely regarded as the video game fanatic’s cuisine of choice. And for members of Domino’s loyalty program, mobile gaming skills will now be one of the keys to unlocking free pizza.

Domino’s is launching a mobile game called “Piece of the Pie Pursuit,” according to a press release. Customers who are able to beat all six pizza-themed levels of the game will be granted 10 loyalty points. Members can redeem 60 points for a free medium two-topping pizza. The game play, as seen in a YouTube video, consists of navigating Domino’s-branded tokens, marbles and other objects through a complex, three-dimensional Rube Goldberg-type machine.

The game ties directly into the chain’s latest advertising, which promotes the loyalty program and the ease with which members can earn points and free pizza. The commercial, titled “Beautifully Easy,” depicts a woman ordering a pizza while a narrator details different ways to order and earn points. On-screen, a Domino’s employee prepares a pizza as a machine, similar to one in the game, runs through a series of chain reactions.

This isn’t the first high-tech step Domino’s has taken to extend the excitement of ordering pizza. In the U.S., Domino’s was an early foodservice innovator, introducing its popular Pizza Tracker back in 2008. In 2015, the company added order-streamlining functionality which allows users to simply text a pizza emoji to the chain to automatically place an order.

And in Australia in 2014, Domino’s launched its Pizza Mogul app, by which users can design custom pizzas and get paid when other customers purchase their creations.

While the new Domino’s mobile game doesn’t seem to be targeted strictly at hardcore gamers, big names in pizza have been exploring the pizza/video game connection with success in recent years. In 2013, Pizza Hut began allowing gamers to order pizza via Xbox, resulting in $1 million dollars in sales within four months. Domino’s rolled out a similar Xbox app the following year.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is enabling customers to earn points and eventually free products by playing and winning a mobile game a sensible part of a loyalty program strategy? In what other creative ways could retailers in and outside of foodservice benefit from such a strategy?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"This is a great example by Domino’s of turning a commodity product into a highly-differentiated and rewarding experience. Bravo!"
"Consumers could be spending their time in worse ways than seeking the bragging rights of winning free pizza."
"The profitability of balancing the challenge and cost of creating the different types of games would need to be evaluated. One size will not fit all."

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11 Comments on "Will a mobile game and free pizza combo deliver sales for Domino’s?"


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Mark Ryski
BrainTrust

There are so many loyalty programs, just breaking through the clutter is a challenge. Earning points and free products by playing games is an interesting approach that will resonate with some customers — whether it helps drive new, additional customers is hard to say. I doubt it will be a big win. Simple to understand and meaningful loyalty programs can be an important strategy for virtually any retailer — complex, meaningless and poorly conceived loyalty programs are distracting and expensive.

Mohamed Amer
BrainTrust

Gamification is an important lever to increase engagement and loyalty in the online experience. This is a smart move by Domino’s. By creating mobile games and combining them with free better-tasting pizzas, Domino’s is continuing to raise the competitive bar and wrapping more services to enhance the entire culinary experience.

This is a great example by Domino’s of turning a commodity product into a highly-differentiated and rewarding experience. Bravo!

Shep Hyken
BrainTrust

The concept of getting customers to engage in a game through an app or website is not new. I’m surprised more retailers haven’t implemented the concept of customer gamification. Some customers love to engage with a game. And when your customers are prone to gaming, such as a segment of Domino’s customers, well, it’s customer gamification on steroids.

Ryan Mathews
BrainTrust

The answer to the first question is a rousing, “It depends” on the product, the target customer set and, of course, the product. Gamification can be effective but it is not a marketing panacea. In the case of Domino’s, for example, this is more likely to reinforce purchase behavior among a specific class of customers than it is to open the floodgates to a tsunami of gamers willing to trade in their favorite pizza for the ability to play what appears to do a fairly simple game. And therein lies the rub. Make a game so sophisticated that it will REALLY engage hardcore gamers and you will frustrate the majority of potential buyers. Make it simple enough that anyone can do it and it really isn’t worth a true gamer’s time. As to the second question, again gamification can be a great tool assuming right game, right product, right audience. Pass the Mountain Dew and ready Player One.

Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

Domino’s has always been creative with technology, not only from a customer perspective but by monitoring results and trying to quantify the benefits of different methods of engagement.

I don’t suppose this game will appeal to everyone, but it is an interesting way of engaging and will likely find some success with particular demographics.

Lyle Bunn (Ph.D. Hon)
BrainTrust

Consumers could be spending their time in worse ways than seeking the bragging rights of winning free pizza. Games offer the potential to educate while entertaining, so let us see how Domino’s can serve up more benefits than just brand loyalty. Gamification works well to engage, but has the more significant benefit of generating a more informed and inspired consumer.

Doug Garnett
BrainTrust

There’s a possibility this will work for Domino’s. But there’s also a serious possibility it’s distracting them from other, more useful activities.

There’s also a very good chance that they’re generating negative returns via their loyalty program. Loyalty in pizza delivery has a lot to do with price, geographic location and delivery service. These factors will drive loyalty far more than a game.

Camille P. Schuster, PhD.
BrainTrust

Matching the subject, type of game play and difficulty level to specific target markets could make this approach successful. The profitability of balancing the challenge and cost of creating the different types of games would need to be evaluated. One size will not fit all. Balancing the challenge with profitability is an issue for all companies considering this approach.

Mike Osorio
BrainTrust

It feels like a bit of a reach. The connection between gamification based marketing strategies and pizza buyers is real, but I’d be surprised if Domino’s achieved a reasonable ROI against the cost of the creative. Seems like just a bit of quick fun for existing customers, and not a strong driver of loyalty. A better deal from a competitor would quickly sway the customer away.

Evan Snively
BrainTrust

When taking on “gamification” this app-game approach is about as basic as it gets. Hopefully the novelty will achieve the goal of raising awareness of the loyalty program (which I am assuming is Domino’s end goal). Reading reviews of the app is a reminder though that there is a fine line between creating a challenging experience (leading to a greater sense of pride when completing) and a frustrating experience (creating a negative brand interaction). Looks like this particular app might fall to the latter.

With a lens at the take-out or made-to-order foodservice industry, I think there is an opportunity to engage the consumer in store during the usually mundane period when they are waiting for their food, i.e. if you know that the average person waits 5 minutes from when they place their order to when their food is ready, create a brand experience that will engage them for approximately that period of time, instead of having them aimlessly moseying through their phones waiting to hear their name called.

Ricardo Belmar
BrainTrust

This is a smart, creative move by Domino’s. You can sell almost anything if you make it fun, as was said at NRF earlier this year.

Gamification is a powerful tool to generate engagement with an audience, but it has to be done in a way that is relevant to that audience. Will Domino’s find new customers with this game, or will they simply build stronger loyalty with existing customers? Probably more of the latter, but they get credit for creativity in a way that their competitors might not be thinking about.

This approach may gain in popularity with other retailers beyond just food service in the future and it will be interesting to see what others come up with in their pursuit to differentiate their loyalty programs!

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"This is a great example by Domino’s of turning a commodity product into a highly-differentiated and rewarding experience. Bravo!"
"Consumers could be spending their time in worse ways than seeking the bragging rights of winning free pizza."
"The profitability of balancing the challenge and cost of creating the different types of games would need to be evaluated. One size will not fit all."

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