Domino’s Pizza Delivers Tough Questions about the Public and Transparency

There was a day when the public feared technology because we felt it would enable the government to spy on us and grant corporations access to our private lives. But thanks to Domino’s Pizza’s latest marketing gimmick, the Big Brother the public fears may actually turn out to be, well, us.

Domino’s has installed a live webcam feed in a Salt Lake City, Utah, store so that online customers can watch their pies being made live from scratch in real time. As PR professionals, we are constantly clamoring about the importance of transparency and the inevitable perils that result from a lack of it. Transparency builds trust, brand loyalty and is the foundation of solid brand-consumer relationships. But is this taking transparency too far?

The reason Domino’s can sell pizza so inexpensively is because they deal in volume. To achieve that level of volume the brand must make pizzas like a factory, and no one wants that factory image associated with their food. (Pizza Snob Alert: Honestly, how the brand survives in New York City—where there is homemade pizza on every corner—is beyond me. To each his own, as mom would say.) Watching a pizza being made in a matter of minutes makes it seem like fast food. Is that the image Domino’s wants for its product? (Why not install cameras in the delivery cars and focus on safe driving instead? That would be cool.)

And does the public really want this level of transparency? Do we want live video access to how everything in our lives is made? And can we, the public, handle that level of truth? What if webcams provided live feeds to the factories where clothes are made; perhaps that could have saved hundreds of lives in Bangladesh. Or would the public, like Big Brother, find a reason to rationalize our ability to distance ourselves from the truth?

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