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Domino's and Subway Start Food Fight

Domino's CEO burning notice by Subway
Domino's CEO Burns Subway 'Cease and Desist' Letter. Photo/Domino's

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (Blue MauMau) - After Domino's Oven Baked Sandwiches launched its commercials that tout it beating Subway's sandwiches by a 2-to-1 margin in a national taste test, Domino's says it received a letter from Subway demanding it cease and desist from running advertising featuring the independently researched claim.

Domino's has not only refused to pull the work, it has responded by launching a new TV spot (below, 31 second video) featuring Chairman and CEO David A. Brandon playfully burning up Subway's letter in one of the 450-degree ovens used to bake its victorious sandwiches.

"This is as much fun as a good, old-fashioned school cafeteria food fight," joked Brandon. "We're flattered that Subway would consider us a threat, since we're still new to the sandwich game - but we also thought the best way to respond to their letter was in an irreverent fashion. I think I did what any red-blooded American always wants to do with a letter from a lawyer: burn it to a crisp." The 30-second version of the commercial aired for the first time last night, January 21, during American Idol on Fox.

This is yet another fun and notable commercial from ad agency Crispin, Porter + Bogusky, who recently won Ad Age's 2008 agency of the year award.

Commercial where Domino's CEO responds to Subway's letter

Specifics of the Taste Test

In news reports and press releases, Domino's has simply stated concerning the taste test, "Oven Baked Sandwiches from Domino's Pizza were preferred by consumers over industry leader Subway's by an incredible 2-to-1 margin, based on independent taste tests conducted throughout the country in late 2008."

Over two weeks ago Blue MauMau contacted Domino's for the specifics of that test, specifically how many people were involved, where and how the test was done. Jenny Fouracre-Petko, a spokesperson for Domino's, provided the following information.

The taste claim research was conducted by Lieberman Research Worldwide. Over nine hundred taste-test interviews were conducted in eight US markets.

All four major census regions were represented. Each consumer tasted two comparable sandwiches, one from Domino’s and one from Subway.  The Domino’s and Subway locations where sandwiches were purchased were equidistant from the facility, or Domino’s was placed at the slight distance disadvantage.  Qualified Respondents were adults 18 years or older, not industry employed, have not participated in a consumer survey within the past 3 months, had purchased and eaten a sandwich in past month from a fast food or quick service restaurant, are the primary or shared decision maker for sandwich purchases and eat a sandwich from a fast food or quick service restaurant at least once a month.

Each respondent was given one sandwich from Domino's and one sandwich from Subway; namely:

  • Domino's Philly Cheese Steak vs. Subway's Steak & Cheese
  • Domino's Italian vs. Subway's Italian BMT
  • Domino's Chicken Bacon Ranch vs. Subway's Chicken & Bacon Ranch

All sandwiches were blinded to both respondents and the servers, sandwiches were rotated and once the respondent tried both sandwiches they were given a questionnaire to complete. Sandwiches were comparable in size, Subway sandwiches were ordered with the fixings as specified on their Web site for each sandwich, Domino’s sandwiches were ordered as normally sold

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Don Sniegowski is editor of Blue MauMau, the daily news journal for franchise & small business owners. Call him at +1 (270) 321-1268, tweet @bluemaumau or email