When Domino’s unveiled its “Paving for Pizza” campaign in June, the project dreamed up by agency CP+B had a budget of $100,000—enough to fix potholes in 20 towns.
Once media coverage and social media buzz kicked in, though, it quickly became apparent the budget wasn’t nearly large enough to come close to meeting demand.
“Within the first couple of weeks, we had submissions from every state,” says CP+B vp and executive producer Dan Corken, who’s been coordinating the logistics of the paving project since launch. “That was something we identified as an interesting opportunity for us, to just keep going.”
Today the pizza chain is announcing that it will expand Paving for Pizza nationwide, with the goal of fixing roads in at least one town within each state and the budget expanded to accommodate 50 locations. The agency estimates that it’s been able to repair about 30 to 50 potholes in each town where Domino’s has been invited to help make improvements (with the brand connection being that carry-out pizzas get home in better shape when roads are smooth).
Paving for Pizza has been a PR and goodwill coup for Domino’s, with CP+B creative director Kelly McCormick happily admitting, “I don’t think any of us expected it to blow up quite as big as it did.”
More than 137,000 requests poured in as residents of towns across the country asked the brand to come fix local road nightmares. In social media, some portrayed Domino’s as a modern-day folk hero, while others (including Bernie Sanders) bemoaned the state of U.S. infrastructure if a pizza chain has to be called in to help make basic street repairs.
And as you might imagine, not all city governments welcomed Domino’s with open arms. Once some towns were selected and contacted for the program, town officials declined the road-repair assistance.
“We had a few noes,” CP+B’s Corken says. “We didn’t really poke and prod about why. We just thanked them for their time and moved on to the next one.”
Those towns that did accept, however, focused on portraying Paving for Pizza as a good way to extend road repair budgets without requiring additional tax dollars. So they’re not saying they wouldn’t have repaired the potholes—just that Domino’s helped speed things along.
How to get your town’s potholes on Domino’s radar
The Paving for Pizza project team at CP+B offered Adweek a few bits of advice for those who’d like their towns to rise to the top of the consideration list for upcoming pothole repairs:
1. Get your nominations in now.
Technically the nomination window for towns will be open until the end of the year, but sooner is definitely better, as the Domino’s team will be selecting towns and scheduling repairs throughout the coming months. The earlier you get your nomination in at PavingForPizza.com, the sooner they’ll start thinking about your community.
2. Make city officials your partners, not your punchline.
As easy as it is to trash your city leaders when asking Domino’s to drop by your town, that’s not the most constructive approach. The brand isn’t looking to make any enemies in government, and there’s no chance Domino’s is going to barge in uninvited and start dropping asphalt against a city’s wishes.
CP+B’s team says vocal support from city officials is something they value a great deal when they’re selecting towns for Paving for Pizza, especially when those officials are personally joining residents in nominating their town.
“The cities that have responded positively,” McCormick says, “are the ones with city officials who recognize we’re just trying to help and we just love pizza.”