After a 23-year absence, Domino’s naughty mascot the Noid came back early this month to celebrate his 25th birthday. He also came around for a short visit last May to promote the chain’s Facebook page and for a brief appearance at the chain’s commercial, but the restaurant’s executives say he’s not back for good. “He was just here for a week, for Facebook and social-media PR activities. We don’t intend to bring him back in any of our commercials,” says Jen Hug, Domino’s spokeswoman.
The Facebook promotion ran for the whole 2nd week of August, starting on the 8th up until August 15, where Domino’s gave away a free pizza every minute in the form of $10 gift cards. The gift cards were given to the top players of its Facebook arcade game, “The Noid’s Super Pizza Shootout.” For people to be able to play the game and be qualified to get the gift card, Facebook users needed to “like” the Domino’s page and become a fan.
The promotion hoped to generate more Domino’s page fans, on top of its current count of 3.4 million and in the long run increase sales.
“We are quite aware that many people find the Noid somewhat annoying,” said Domino Pizza Inc.’s chief marketing Russell Weiner. “But we also have a lot of customers who continually ask about him, wanting to know when he will return. Just like any celebrity, there are folks who love him and hate him. We’re bringing the Noid back for those who want to see him again.”
The Noid, if you would remember, is the character in red superhero-like outfit with floppy ears who bounced around in Domino’s commercials in the 80s. The 9,436-unit chain’s slogan those days was “Avoid the Noid,” with the idea that one could, in fact, keep away from the Noid—who usually represented a pizza that was delivered late, damaged or cold-by ordering from Domino’s rather from a competing pizza restaurant.
The Noid doesn’t talk but laughs viciously. He was popular at the time– he has showed up in Nintendo games and was once featured in one of Michael Jackson’s video. Domino’s retired him in 1988 since they feel that the mascot have already improved its name recognition and has, in effect, accomplished its mission.
The mission was, of course, increased brand recognition. Brand mascots provide a personality to an organization, putting a face to a business, and giving companies a chance to immediately become unique even in the most saturated of market. It is best for highly competitive market arenas where it is hard to differentiate players, such as the restaurant industry.
If you somehow feel that there’s just too many of you with the same concept in your area, consider coming up with a mascot.
In conceptualizing one for your restaurant, think of bright colors that attract the eye and create something innovative and new. A happy, huggable and agile mascot, perhaps in colorful chefs clothing or lively waiter’s apron, can be used throughout your restaurant’s entire branding campaign. Iconic restaurant mascots include McDonald’s Ronald McDonald, KFC’s Colonel Sanders, Jack in the Box’s Jack, Burger King’s The King and Wendy’s Wendy.