How Domino’s Leverages Credibility Full-Tilt to Elevate Awareness and Persuade: Deconstructing Domino’s “Rate Our Chicken” Ad

Today, I deconstruct Domino’s “Rate Our Chicken” ad, which, with it’s direct, left-brain approach, contrasts nicely with the symbolic, right-brain Dodge Challenger “Freedom” commercial. Both are powerful and persuasive in their own right. So grab a latte, pull up a chair, and let’s get started.

First Mental Image (FMI):

Viewers are introduced to Tate, Domino’s Chicken Chief. And right off the bat, we learn that our hero is under tremendous pressure to uphold Domino’s high standards of taste.

I have mixed feelings about the ad’s FMI.

On one hand, it’s rare that viewers get to know an employee, other than the CEO, through a company’s advertising. Meeting Tate is refreshing; a move that’s perfectly aligned with Domino’s eagerness to be transparent. And since he’s Domino’s Chicken Chief, Tate is certainly a credible spokesperson for the company’s new chicken recipe.

But on the other hand, I’m concerned that the delivery of the FMI is too weak to capture the viewer’s attention.

Bottom line: The ad’s FMI introduces the right idea: high standards of taste. But, to grab and keep the viewer’s attention, the idea should have been delivered with greater impact.

The Message:

Domino’s is so confident that you’ll like its new chicken recipe that the company encourages your feedback.

The Domino’s “Rate Our Chicken” message really excels. So, here are five reasons why this ad is persuasive.

5 Darn Good Reasons Why the Domino’s “Rate Our Chicken” Message Persuades:

1.) Relevancy. I mean — no one wants to eat a piece of chicken that tastes like wood, right? Well, Domino’s is smart. Very smart. The company speaks directly to the customer’s desire to eat a tasty chicken meal. Enough said.

2.) Believability. It goes without saying that fast food industry is super-competitive, which means consumers are overwhelmed by choice. Strangled really. And a fast food chain’s announcement of a new chicken recipe normally wouldn’t land anywhere on the customer’s radar.

But with its credibility investment of power and control — giving the customer the authority to rate its chicken openly — Domino’s, hands down, has the most believable ad campaign running in America.

In fact, I dare you to name another company that’s more transparent.

3.) Clear and direct delivery. Admittedly, there’s nothing overly clever or creative with this ad. And that’s okay. After all, the ad’s primary goal is to transfer confidence and convince you that Domino’s chicken is worth trying.

So why go cute and clever and risk distracting the viewer?

Domino’s takes the right approach. Given that the company’s message has plenty of meat on the bone (pun fully-intended), it correctly chooses clarity over creativity.

4.) Demonstration. Clearly, the ad’s crescendo. With a closeup shot, Tate tears into a piece of Domino’s chicken; demonstrating it’s tenderness.

So easy to overlook, demonstration is one of the most powerful marketing tools available. Which segues perfectly into…

5.) Contrast. As Tate tears into the tender piece of Domino’s chicken, he says: “You see this? This is made with 100% all white chicken breast meat. Its not just a bunch of chicken bits all mashed together.”

The line beautifully contrasts Domino’s “real” chicken from the Franken-chickens being served your typical fast food joint.

As I’ve mentioned many times before, contrasting is one of the most effective tools for defining your company’s position relative to the competition. Long story short: as a marketer, it’s your job to frame the buying conversation for the customer. Contrasting helps you do exactly that.

Stylistic Signature:

Folksy music and candid interview style compliment Domino’s desire to communicate with openness and transparency.

Last Mental Image:

A anxious Tate says, “I’m not excited about the box.”

Ugh! The ad had a chance to circle back to the idea introduced with the FMI and end with a high-impact LMI. Instead, the copywriters had a brain fart, and ended the ad with a fizzle.

BIG mistake.

Here’s why: The LMI delivered by Tate communicates timidness, which is in direct conflict with the ad’s main message. Sure, we expect Tate to feel anxious about being judged so openly. And the ad’s final line is kinda funny. But it seems silly to choose humor over impact at this stage in the game, right?

A confident Tate would have sent a more powerful and persuasive message to the viewer. It would have communicated that Domino’s new chicken recipe kicks ass.


Credibility and relevancy are what make this ad persuasive — and what rescues it from a mediocre FMI delivery, and a weak LMI.

It’s important to note that persuasion requires two main ingredients: relevancy and credibility. Write ads with both and you’ll own the keys to the kingdom.

Finally, one last thing: Domino’s will eventually lose credibility and sales IF it fails to follow through on it’s promise to deliver a chicken recipe that tastes out of this world.

In other words, your ad is only as good as the strategy it is built upon, and you’ve got to be able to walk the walk.

So be relentless in your pursuit of a powerful strategy. Oh, and order a box of Domino’s chicken, and let me know how it tastes.

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4 Responses to “How Domino’s Leverages Credibility Full-Tilt to Elevate Awareness and Persuade: Deconstructing Domino’s “Rate Our Chicken” Ad”

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  1. Seth says:

    Love the post. I wonder about the LMI critique though. There is a certain level of confidence an ad can show to remain genuine and not come off salesy. I feel like if he would have been optimistic (even if he was 100% genuine to himself), it wouldn’t have come across that way. The threshold would be crossed. I feel like rather than picking a confident or fearful attitude, it could have ended on a sly “we’ll see”. That would have left it in the viewers hands to in fact, “see”. 

  2. Tom Wanek says:

    Excellent suggestion!

    I just kept thinking that Tate lacked confidence at times, particularly at the end. A sly “we’ll see” would have changed my perception for sure, and ended the ad on the right note.

    Well done, Seth. Thanks for your input.


  1. […] Want to see this at work in a national ad campaign?  Check out Tom Wanek’s analysis of Domino’s Rate Our Chicken Ad. […]

  2. […] Want to see this at work in a national ad cam­paign?  Check out Tom Wanek’s analy­sis of Domino’s Rate Our Chicken Ad. […]

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