Several years ago pundits credited McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It” advertising campaign with the turnaround that McDonald’s experienced at that time. I’m pretty sure their CMO at the time was happy to accept that accolade. Less well reported was that coincident with that new ad campaign was a make-over of McDonald’s service and food delivery systems. I think people may have been driven to trial or retrial by the ad campaign, but if they had not improved the “product” it would have not been a sustainable growth improvement.
About a month ago I wrote about the Domino’s situation with the crappy tasting pizza and what they planned to do about it. I even mentioned an ad campaign they were running to help people understand what they were doing about the situation. The initial results are in.
Dominos just reported a 14.3% increase in same store sales. This is apparently one of the largest sales increases ever recorded by a major fast food chain. They seem to have gotten it right with the fix. Papa John’s hopes that this increase came from trial only. I doubt it. That number is unlikely to come from trail alone, without repeat. And it is unlikely to be a sustainable rate of increase for the #2 pizza chain in the U.S.
However, they have proven once again that if you get the “product” right and customers find out, they will stay with you. It’s not about promotion it’s about what the customer is actually buying from you. Get that right and promotion helps. Get it wrong and no amount of promotion can solve it for you (as 2 of the 3 U.S. car companies discovered by going bankrupt).