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Bad Andy

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Badandy1
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Bad Andy being performed by a team of puppeteers.
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Bad Andy pretends to be sick.
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Bad Andy plugs in his TV instead of the HeatWave bags.
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The "Bad Andy" plush

Bad Andy was a mischievous Muppet character created for a Domino's Pizza advertising campaign, Bad Andy. Good Pizza. The spots were created by advertising firm Deutsch Inc. The character was "specially conceived for Domino's by The Jim Henson Company," [1] and the puppet was built by Tennessee puppet workshop Animax Designs. [2]

In the ads, which launched in May 2000, Bad Andy was a bad Domino's employee who interfered with various aspects of the pizza baking and delivery process. By correcting his mistakes, the other employees in the ads would highlight the importance of those elements.

For example, according to a Domino's press release, "in the ad spot titled Sockets, a Domino's Pizza team member notices that all the "Domino's HeatWave Hot Bags" have been unplugged, and the electrical sockets have been filled with other plugs. After following a tangle of electrical cords, the team member discovers Andy relaxing in a massage chair surrounded by a fan, blender, two televisions, a lava lamp and a stereo. As the Domino's team member explains to Andy the importance of the HeatWave Hot Bag for delivering hot, great-tasting pizza, Andy turns up the intensity of the chair until he blows the fuse."

Commercials

  • "Sockets"
Bad Andy unplugs all the "Domino's HeatWave Hot Bags" and uses the outlets for a massage chair, a fan, blender, two televisions, a lava lamp and a stereo. The other employees try to explain how important the Hot Bags are, but Andy ignores them and turns up the intensity on his massage chair until he blows the fuse.
  • "Sick"
Bad Andy ducks his pizza delivery duties by keeping a thermometer in the "Domino's HeatWave Hot Bag" and claiming to be sick.
  • "Rolling Pin"
Bad Andy tries repeatedly to convince another employee to use a rolling pin rather than hand-stretching the pizza crust.
  • "Big Man Trouserz"
Bad Andy changes the sign outside the store from "Today's Special: lg or med pizza, any crust" to read "Today's Special: Big Man Trouserz".

Reception

The ad campaign was not well received by the public, and generated bad press. A New York Magazine article in July 2000 pointed out:

"For a while there, any schmo could get a job at a dot-com. But now that that particular gravy train has derailed, the barely competent are left to work at... Domino's. That seems to be the message of the pizza chain's new campaign, which stars Bad Andy, a mischief-making puppet and Domino's employee.
"In one spot, Andy offers a co-worker a rolling pin, defying the boss's order not to use shortcuts because Domino's policy is to hand-stretch pizza crust. (Tag line: bad andy. good pizza.) In another, he rearranges the letters on a signboard, changing it from today's special: lg or med pizza, any crust to today's special: big man trouserz. (Does Andy know something about why we shouldn't eat Domino's pizza?) In a third, he unplugs all the pizza-warming HeatWave Hot Bags so he can plug in a fan, two TVs, and a lava lamp.
"As it happens, Domino's could use some heat -- its same-store sales increased just 2 percent in the first quarter of 2000 -- and if a dog-harassing sock puppet can raise the profile of a pet-supplies purveyor, why can't a fuzzy brown layabout generate buzz for a pizza-maker? But Andy's continued employment at Domino's raises troubling questions: If he can prance around undetected long enough to unplug all the HeatWave Hot Bags, what's keeping him from, say, licking the pepperoni or peeing in the tomato sauce? In other words, just how bad is Bad Andy? And does Domino's liability insurance cover puppet sabotage?"
Another common criticism was that viewers couldn't tell what kind of animal Bad Andy was supposed to be. In The Detroit News, columnist Neal Rubin asked: "What is Bad Andy, exactly? A monkey? A bear? An extremely furry California raisin?"

The "Bad Andy" campaign was dumped in March 2001, and replaced with a new campaign, Get the Door, It's Domino's. "We needed a back-to-basics approach," said Patrick Doyle, acting Domino's executive vice president of brand marketing, in a Detroit Free Press article. "Bad Andy simply didn't get the job done for us." The article went on to say that Domino's Pizza sales at stores open at least one year dropped 2 percent during the last half of 2000, and Domino's officials lay part of the blame at Bad Andy's furry feet.

Marketing consultant Elizabeth Goodgold reported on the story on her website:

"Domino’s Pizza unceremoniously pulled its Bad Andy campaign early this year, and while the company website said the move was based on a shift in advertising focus from pizza preparation to delivery, TV viewers knew the real reason: Bad Andy was annoying. He was obnoxious. 'Bad Andy got some of the highest dislikability ratings of any spokescharacter in the history of advertising,' admits Tim McIntyre, vice president of corporate communications at Domino’s. 'Sales didn’t respond.'
"Bad Andy, a brown critter who looked like a cross between a monkey and a rat ('He wasn’t really meant to be anything specific,' McIntyre says. 'He was undefined even for us.') was shown to live in the back of a Domino’s Pizza store, and his voracious appetite muddled up the store’s operations. Despite the comic possibilities, the ads did little to highlight the quality of Domino’s pizza or service, and Bad Andy’s cavorting was more irritating that endearing. Besides, the notion of a squirrel-like animal being holed up in the back of a pizza joint was unappetizing to say the least."
Domino's Pizza dropped advertising company Deutsch Inc. in January 2002, and hired a competing agency, J. Walter Thompson, to continue the Get the Door, It's Domino's campaign. According to an article on Pizzamarketplace.com, "While McIntyre declined to comment on whether Domino’s was dissatisfied with Deutsche’s work, the short-lived and often-criticized Bad Andy campaign has been fingered by media critics as a key source of tension between the two companies."

Despite the poor public appeal for "Bad Andy", a plush version of the puppet was created and available in limited supply.

In 2004, the Muppets were enlisted in competitor Pizza Hut's marketing campaign, appearing in a string of commercials that debuted during the Super Bowl.

Sources

  1. "Domino's Pizza's New Ad Campaign Provides a Peek Behind the Scenes.", Domino's Pizza press release. May 11, 2000. Reprinted on Muppetcentral.com.
  2. Advertising gallery on Animaxdesigns.com.

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