Mobile Marketer has re-launched! Click here to learn more!

Little Caesars laughs off Domino's focus on mobile ordering in TV ad

Pizza chain Little Caesars is parodying how some of its competitors are putting a big focus on mobile technology in a new television ad that also pokes fun at the staged technology launches for which marketers such as Apple have become known.

In the commercial, the pizza chain tries to undercut the significance of online and mobile ordering and voice command technologies by reintroducing the idea of walking into a store and picking up a pizza in an ad that uses satire and comedy to make a connection with consumers. 

"I believe many consumers feel that brands and retailers attempt to make their shopping experience into a science project," said Gary Schwartz, CEO of Impact Mobile, New York. "Just because a mobile application allows you to provide tools that slice-and-dice in-aisle or at-counter, doesn?t mean the brand should provide these tools. 

Between the lines
Consumers love funny commercials, and with the help of YouTube, brand ads have the ability to go viral as consumers can replay them and share them on social media, likely aiding this effort by Little Caesars.

However, it questionable if consumers will embrace that mobile is a generally bad idea, especially since consumer behavior heavily involves the use of mobile devices. In fact, mobile is playing an increasing role in the pizza chain industry in the forms of mobile ordering on mobile apps and mobile-optimized Web sites.

Last summer, Domino's introduced mobile ordering that features an in-app persona called Dom that is used to assist customers with placing their order (see story).

Leveraging the most innovative source of technology, Domino's engaged in this endeavor to boost its sales by making the ordering process more convenient for its customers. 

With the fast-food chain seeing 40 percent of orders being placed on mobile devices, prior to this innovation of Dom and in-app mobile-voice ordering, it was almost no question that Domino's should leverage that source of traffic and take advantage of mobile capabilities.

Also in recent years, other top pizza chains have introduced mobile-ordering Web sites and/or apps to better the customer experience, including Pizza Hut and Papa Johns.

These solutions serve these fast-food chain restaurants because of the nature of a pizza itself. Highly customizable, pizza orders are arguably more easily completed via an online or mobile format in comparison to an audible telephone call. Domino's, Pizza Hut and Papa Johns integrated mobile ordering into their businesses to ensure efficiency and help prevent incorrect orders.

The scene of Little Caesars' commercial also depicts mockery.

While Google and Apple are known to roll out the red carpet upon their seasonal announcements of technological breakthroughs, the commercial consists of an actor playing a Little Caesars' executive announcing the breakthrough in front of a large audience in a stadium. 

Meanwhile, Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, and Larry Page, CEO of Google, always present the new iPhone, Apple Watch or Google Glass on stage, dressed in suits and overlooking a large crowd in a stadium.

The undeniable future
Little Caesars? indirect teasing of the efforts of these big players is indeed comical but can only take the company so far.

As the prevalence of mobile increases, consumers are going to simultaneously expect these types of experiences to do business.

Little Caesars? commercial additionally points fingers at promotion codes, creating usernames, remembering passwords, keying in credit card information, and the common issues one might encounter while using a laptop or a mobile device.

The pizza chain is known for being a more cost-efficient alternative to its competitors, a quality that some consumers will always appreciate.

However, it is doubtable that rejecting the influence of mobile can be a good tactic for now or the future of business. Meanwhile, Little Caesars lacks both a mobile-ordering Web site and mobile app and has a relatively small social following. Its Twitter account has only 70,000 followers while Domino's has 700,000 followers, Pizza Hut has one million and Papa John?s has 200,000.

Yet, some believe an overload of science and technology can detract consumers.

"For 10 percent of consumers, shopping and eating may be a science project, but for others mobility simply means enhancing their needs as footloose consumers," Mr. Schwartz said.

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon is an editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York