Domino’s Pizza Proverbs: Content Marketing extending the experience

Using a brand’s own packaging as a forum for content is nothing new, of course.  Ingredient-based food brands have been placing recipes for salads, sloppy joes, Slurpees, and salmon on labels, boxes and inserts for ages.  This type of content typically addresses the next-closest level consumer need; in this case, nourishment — and how best to achieve it while utilizing the starring brand.

But what about when the consumer need is of a higher order, say the need for self-expression — can packaging provide the appropriate venue there?

Starbucks thought so, in 2007.  Looking to extend the thought-provoking topics traditionally discussed in the local coffeeshop to the to-go cup of cappuccino (extra foam), they introduced “The Way I See It,” a series of statements and quotes from famous and not-so-famous folks and their views of the world, printed in green and black ink right on the cup.

Words of wisdom from Roger Ebert

Sometimes controversial, polarizing, or even just odd, the content did serve as an experience-extender of the higher order need of expression… something perhaps missing from our drive-through world and reminiscent of the sometimes controversial, polarizing, or even just odd discussions held in coffeehouses in days of yore.

Today, we have this from Domino’s :  Pizza Proverbs.  A combination promotion, user-generated content, and social media play, it invites consumers to slice up a traditional proverb (e.g. “A stitch in time saves nine”) to make it Domino’s and pizza-centric (e.g. “A pizza in time feeds nine”).  As of this writing, there are 568 pizza proverbs appearing on – at least those that Domino’s feel make the ‘cut.’  (Note:  author submitted two pizza proverbs that should have risen to the top, yet were rejected by website curators.  Ah, such is the life of a user generating content).

Eight consumers with the sauciest snippets of sage advice will receive their proverb printed on an empty, grease-free Domino’s box (suitable for framing, I’m guessing), with the chance (not promise) to appear for real on certain quantities of Domino’s delivery boxes…seems Domino’s isn’t yet 100% sold that any could become the phrase that pays.

I, for one, hope Domino’s does allow on-box, mass distribution of the winning proverbs – they’d clearly be a hit (and maybe collector’s item) in the regions where the winners call home, or could play to other vertical promotions focusing on featured offerings.

Moreover, it will offer an opening lob into the bull-sessions frequently enjoyed by those gathered around a ‘za.  Just as Starbucks wished for the thought-provoking, coffeehouse vibe in its “The Way I See It,’ Domino’s similarly hopes for the irreverent, after-hours munchies mob with “Pizza Proverbs.”  Both using their own iconic packaging to deliver an expanded experience.

Questionwho’s the next major marketer to leverage its own packaging as a venue for content marketing (user- or brand-generated)?

I’ll post all answers (within reason), even if in questionable ‘taste!’

Putting his money where his content is

Opportunities and Threats for Social Media

The future of social media as viewed by senior UK marketers

I will be following, with great interest, a very brave Brit who is attempting to prove that content marketing really works — in a matter of hours.

On May 19th, next Wednesday, John Bottom of BaseOne in London will be attempting this live at the IDM B2B conference in front of 150 senior marketers.  What’s more, Mr. Bottom will originate the content right then and there, and then look to prove its effectiveness by gaining 1,000 clicks to its posting.

I think he’ll achieve it.

He has laid some groundwork to help set his stage:   leveraging some content marketing of his own and spreading it through a variety of social media channels to like-minded fans of content marketing.  So then, on May 19th, when the content goes “live,” he’ll have enlisted the help of a community that believes in its power and wants John to succeed.

In a way, these before-efforts are already proving the effectiveness of content marketing…and his exercise on Wednesday will simply re-confirm them.

Join me in helping him out by spreading his message on 5/19/10.

Just follow this to read more:

And here is the content to be spread on Wednesday:

Best of luck, John.  But I’m a believer in making your own luck, and I’m confident you have.

Customer Engagement means asking “are your customers really engaged?”

Customer Engagement:  a calling, a passion, a way of life.

But just what do we mean when we say “engaging advertising” or “engaging content” or even “engaging experience”?  Can we agree on what it means to be engaging to our customers?

My colleague, Joe Pulizzi from Junta42 and I were stymied by this and decided to do something about it.

The result:  an engaging whitepaper on Engagement, with ideas, theories, and practical applications to help you better understand Engagement, apply metrics to measure it, and view some terrific examples to help you achieve it.

Customer Engagement whitepaper

Engagement: Understanding It, Measuring It, Achieving It

Download your free copy here, no registration required!

All that we ask is that you share it with your friends and colleagues.


Ten…make that Eleven Things Social Media Can’t Do


Great post from B.L. Ochman on Ad the other day:  Ten Things Social Media Can’t Do, and worth the read.

As any blogger worth his/her salt, I’d like to add my two cents…well, in this case, one more cent:  there could be 11 things social media can’t do.

11.  It can’t meaningfully exist without consistent and engaging content, steeped in a content marketing strategy.  Too often Brands are rip-roarin’ to “be” on Facebook, Twitter, etc., but without a plan of what they’d like to say and why that is relevant to the intended audience.  That’s where content marketing comes in.

Put in a ‘happy camper’ way, it’s like a bunch of friends gathering around a campfire, and the Brand has actual stories to tell:  not necessarily about itself and why it’s so great, but stories that educate, inform, inspire, and entertain the other folks ’round that campfire.

So turn your list up to 11, and tell your customers a story!

The Never-Ending Story

never ending story book Terrific (and true) tale from Rick Allen at epublishmedia, one where many of us in the ‘content game’ enjoy frank talks with clients on the benefits of a content strategy, content marketing, and consistency.

When I read his post on my dimensionally-challenged Blackberry screen, literally nodding my head in a “yes, yes, yes!  I’ve been there, too”-type of way, I came to a sentence Rick penned:  “But how does the story end?”

I only assumed that this would be followed by something like this:

“The story DOESN’T end. Content Marketing is an on-going strategy, one where Brand is in a continuous, meaningful dialogue with Consumer. Content Marketing is not a ‘campaign,’ it’s more of a forever discipline that can’t ‘end happily ever after’ unless it keeps on going.”

Happily, Rick was referring to his specific incident where he convinced his client that a full content strategy was necessary.  With his client having committed to actionable next steps, he definitely has  a promising ‘to be continued….’

Rick’s piece is titled “Content First:  Step One in Web Marketing.”

In the tome Content Marketing:  Strategy and Beyond (not a real book, but it does give me pause…), other chapters might include “Saving Princess Customer,” or even “Content is King…Long Live the King.”

Just as long as there is a chapter continuously and consistently added, and that the dialogue goes on…”

The End Beginning

Have you met Joe, yet?

Meet Joe.

Joe Kennedy (no relation) is 27 years old, lives in the Boston area (just a coincidence) and drinks beer (also a coincidence). 

He is making his way into middle management at a software company and earns around $ 60,000 per year.  He has an undergraduate degree from BC, and is a real sports nut.  While he is a self-admitted ‘homer’ (dyed-in-the-wool Red Sox fan, big Patriots lover, Celts, Bruins, and his alma mater), he enjoys all types of sports and is knee-deep in his Rotisserie baseball league (AL-only teams) and is currently gearing up for fantasy football ’09 (has been caught with his pre-draft rankings Excel sheets open at the office during work hours.  By his supervisor.  Twice.). 

He watches a variety of sports channels (Comcast SportsChannel, ESPN, local news, MLB channel, Golf Channel, NFL Network, and so on).  He played high school baseball and football, and secretly wished he had pursued a D-3 school so that maybe he could have walked on and played throughout college. 

Joe dates on and off, and has been seen out with a young lady from his company’s HR department (even though she knows better).  His friends that are girls (but some who wish they were more) describe him as ‘hot,’ though he has little clue.  Weekends (and some weeknights) mean bar-hopping with buddies from both high school and BC. 

Joe is frugal, but not necessarily a saver yet.  The youngest of five from a middle-class family, he’s held a job all of his life, even throughout undergrad.  He rents downtown, rooming with a college classmate; friends, but not buddies.  Drives a used, ’02 Toyota Camry. 

Meet Joe

Meet Joe


ESPN, the Brand, would like to have Joe choose their services solely, capturing greater share of Joe’s time spent, mind, and wallet versus having him spread all amongst ESPN and their competitors.  Furthermore, ESPN would like Joe to select ESPN as main Sports Information source across all channels, upselling him to The Magazine, and maybe even ESPN 36o.



“Hi, my name is Joe.”

“Hi, Joe!”

“It’s been six days since I became a persona….”


The class of grad students I teach as an adjunct lecturer at Northwestern University’s Medill School created “Joe.”  For many, it was their first stab at a persona. 

It seems the persona has become all the rage amongst social media strategies…but has been utilized for some time now by content marketers, and even longer (I’d reckon) by traditional agencies (we were using them at Burnett back in the mid-80’s, though I don’t recall labeling them as personas at the time….).

The key today, of course, is to utilize the persona for above and beyond solely the creative target.  Ideally, personas are created for all customer segments, and used in new user profiling, content testing, and to lead discovery in the listening phases of social media planning. 

Personas provide more robust targeting and segmentation, above and beyond demographics, psychographics, and even transactional behaviors.  By bringing your target to life, you bring your marketing to life.

Have you met Joe yet?

18 Marketing Objectives Addressed by Content Marketing


Was tasked the other day by a potential client with providing a list of marketing objectives that are addressed by Content Marketing.

While not exhaustive by any means, I came up with eighteen…and would invite all to add to the figure.

Sheepishly, I admit that none of these include a numerical goal or time period, both requirements of a true marketing objective.  That said, when I printed out the list, I was so pleasantly surprised on how many key challenges strategic content addresses.

Again, feel free to add:

  1. Customer acquisition
  2. Customer retention
  3. Cross-sell
  4. Up-sell
  5. Loyalty
  6. Churn reduction
  7. Advocacy
  8. Reputation Management
  9. Branding
  10. Awareness
  11. SEO
  12. Thought Leadership
  13. Lead generation/formulation
  14. Increase Customer LTV
  15. Integration
  16. Internal communications
  17. Stakeholder/shareholder communications
  18. Increase share of wallet