It was the middle of a Thursday afternoon in Hershey when I visited Domino’s Pizza’s “DominosLive” website, which debuted May 1 and runs at least through May 26.
You can watch Domino’s employees making pizzas daily between 1 p.m. and 1 a.m. Eastern time. But it won’t be your pizza unless you order from a specific Domino’s in Salt Lake City, Utah. It’s in that store that five different cameras are set up and viewable via DominosLive.com.
The idea was developed by global advertising agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky. It’s an extension of the Domino’s Tracker, which permits an online customer to follow the progress of his order from the time it is placed through prep, baking, quality check and delivery.
DominosLive is a gimmick because, after all, what do you care about someone else’s pizza? No doubt it has created some buzz for Domino’s, which has abandoned 30-minute guaranteed delivery in favor of an emphasis on the quality of its pizza. The live stream is designed to showcase the care and attention that goes into each pie.
Besides viewing the live stream, visitors to DominosLive may share their experiences with it via Facebook and Twitter. The promotion has generated media coverage, including from AdWeek.com and the Salt Lake Tribune.
The most pizza-making activity on DominosLive is said to be from 7:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Eastern time.
When I watched at 3:44 p.m (1:44 p.m. in Salt Lake City), there was a whole lot of nothing going on. No dough, no toppings, no pies entering or exiting the ovens, no people. That’s not true: Three minutes in, I spotted a pair of legs, then a left arm (the store employees are never shown from the neck up).
AdWeek’s blogger wasn’t too impressed, either: “The footage is almost comically boring, but I suppose that’s what you get with ‘transparency’ – an inside look at a pretty tedious process in action.”
Besides, if you want to see a pizza being made, why not just stop by a local pizza shop? What’s more, the dough that’s being tossed, covered in sauce and cheese, and placed in the oven might even be your pizza.
Make your own pizza pie
If Domino’s really wanted to do something bold, it would seize upon the idea put forth 23 years ago by that visionary Cosmo Kramer on “Seinfeld.” In the episode “Male Unbonding” (the only “Seinfeld” show that doesn’t have “The” in its title), Kramer tries to get Jerry and George to invest in his new concept: a pizzeria where you make your own pizza pie.
KRAMER: “We give you the dough. You smash it. You pound it. You fling it up into the air and then you get to put your sauce and you get to sprinkle your cheese and then you send it into the oven.”
GEORGE: “You know, you have to know how to do that. You can’t have people shoving their arms into a 600-degree oven.”
KRAMER: “It’s all supervised.”
The arms-in-the-oven part notwithstanding, make-you-own-pie is a great idea. A local pizza shop could make that the centerpiece of a terrific kids club activity or children’s birthday parties.