Domino’s New Marketing Chief Talks Priorities

Ken Calwell turned 39 on June 20, and his birthday gift to himself was to accept the top marketing position at Domino’s.

Upon taking the unusual title of evp, Build the Brand, Calwell outlined his three priorities: to build strong relationships with the pizza chain’s executive teams and franchisees; to obtain a “fact-based understanding” of which Domino’s products work and which do not; and to “create a pipeline of growth initiatives against customer-research findings.”

Calwell joins the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based client on July 16 from Wendy’s, where he was vp of new product marketing, research and testing. He replaces Cheryl Bachelder, who left Domino’s in December 2000.

Calwell said that in his first week he will likely meet with executives at Deutsch, which handles the estimated $100 million ad account. In July 2000, Deutsch launched the short-lived “Bad Andy, good pizza,” campaign that featured a mischievous monkey puppet. By January, “Bad Andy” was relegated to a postscript at the end of new commercials, and in March he was entirely absent from the latest campaign.

“I think the ‘Get the door, it’s Domino’s’ [campaign] is a step in the right direction,” Calwell said when asked to assess the client’s current advertising. Calwell said that the emphasis on Domino’s delivery service is a more effective positioning in an economy that finds consumers “stressed and [in] need [of] convenience.”

Calwell said he could not comment further on Deutsch’s ad efforts. Val DiFebo, managing partner and director of client services at Deutsch, said the agency has sold new executions in the campaign, but would not elaborate.

Before joining Wendy’s, Calwell spent 10 years at PepsiCo-two at Frito-Lay and eight at Pizza Hut.