Worst Foul of the 09 NCAA Tournament: Domino’s Pizza

Guest post by Laura Mills

If you know me, you understand that March Madness is my favorite time of year.  Nothing thrills me more than a double over time nail-biter, willing whatever team is on my bracket to make that last second jump shot.  Spending this past weekend on my boyfriend’s couch watching the NCAA, I was in complete bliss…until I saw the latest advertising campaign from Domino’s Pizza.Dominos

Domino’s CEO David Brandon campaigns for Domino’s Big Taste Bailout Package in the company’s latest commercial.  The advert capitalizes on the idea that the company is bailing out “main street” with their pizza deal, featuring the CEO marching through Washington DC in a pizza parade.  Mr. Brandon says that he is “not bailing out the fat cats on Wall St.” As he rips a pizza out of the hands of a suited man, he continues: “Sorry Mr. Hedge, I’m bailing out you hard working people on Main Street.” 

Keep in mind that I’m watching this with my boyfriend who was laid off last month from his hedge fund position.  Before then, I vividly remember him coming home from work at 3am, monitoring his blackberry for another hour after he was in bed and waking up at 7am to check the close of the Asian markets.  Then there is my friend, Amanda who has an entry level position at Goldman Sachs.  Amanda averages three hours of sleep a night, works almost every weekend and leaves the office so late that she has to take a taxi service because it’s not safe to take the subway alone at that hour. 

These people work harder than anyone I know.  For the CEO** of a major brand to suggest otherwise is in outrageously very poor taste.  I do understand the timeliness of a campaign against corporate greed to appeal to the everyman, but if companies are going to take this stance in external communications, they should do so in a tactful way and address the real problems, none of which include a lazy Wall St.

**Just to note, Domino’s is owned by a Boston-based private equity firm and, according to pages 18 and 19 of the company’s 2008 proxy statement, Domino’s granted CEO David Brandon an $850,000 base salary for ‘08 (an increase from ‘07), and he is eligible for a bonus of up to 200% of that base salary, based on company performance.  That’s nearly $2.5 million, not including stock options, folks.

6 thoughts on “Worst Foul of the 09 NCAA Tournament: Domino’s Pizza

  1. well, i stand corrected. he shouldn’t have been given a raise for losing stick value – full agreement there – my bad.
    im sure some exec comp expert will tell you it is on par with his peers’ pay and that is to keep him from jumping ship.
    if anything, they should first the head and sous chef as the pies stink and i dont know a soul who has tried one of those sammiches.

  2. Well, Lunch Boy, if you knew how hot it was in my cubical, you’d know that most days I do break a sweat. 🙂
    Joking aside, I feel badly for Domino’s investors. Since April 2007, the stock price declined from $33 to aroud $7 (it was below $15 before the market crashed this fall). And, despite the poor performance, Mr. Brandon still received his raise last year…

  3. folks in construction – think plumbers, contractors, pipe fitters, etc. work harder than anyone any of us know. that is the type of the work that takes a toll on your body and mind. when you work for GS or at a hedge fund, i’m pretty sure the stress may be high andd the hours long, but you are sitting on your ass all day. that’s not hard – each of us are doing it right now and i haven’t broken a sweat. have you?
    people choose jobs that are time intensive for the pay-off down the road. whether its selling medical devices or investing vehicles that not correlated to the ebs and flows of the market. you hit a pothole now and get a flat? change it, adapt to the situation and find a new gig. that’s your only choice.
    dominios, aside from offering the crapiest ‘za on the planet, is offering a relatively cheap deal. i know you cant get three pies in Gotham for 15 dollars anywhere else (maybe not even 3 slices).
    and, if dominios is profiting and offering its investors a return on their buck, he should be compensated well.
    long live capitalism.

  4. Thank you, Mike!
    Med Guy:
    You completely missed my point. Did you read my post? I haven’t rationalized the high compensation in corporate america at any point in this posting. In fact, my footnote chides it.
    Read closely and you will see that my premise accepts the attack on corporate greed, but berates Domino’s for suggesting that people in finance don’t work as hard as Main St. That’s where I cry foul, especially considering that the company is owned by a component in the equally money hungry industry of private equity.

  5. “Med Guy:”
    Hmm. With respect, your rhetoric sounds like the very populist fervor that drove production on this commercial to begin with. Domino’s clearly touched a nerve here – and, objectively, that is why marketers spend money on TV ads. But let’s face it, the ad exploited an issue that Domino’s clearly believes most people misunderstand (otherwise they would not have filmed their millionaire CEO “fighting for the people” in dysfunction DC.) It’s offensive and patronizing. People who worked for hedge funds can be devastated just like any other industry where jobs contracted. Why be insensitive to people out of work, by virtue of the location of their job? Unemployment by layoff is not a lesson. It’s a hardship. For anyone. Try to save tears for anyone forced into that scenario.

  6. sorry Laura but you are way off on this one. i am sorry your BF lost his job at hedge fund but i dont shed a tear for anyone on wall street. i have many close friends who work at major funds and one of them made 10 million dollars in 2007 alone. another friend made 2 million last year- yes, they work long hours, but no one forced them to choose that career. another one recently got laid off and said it best “when you work on the street, you know you have a huge upside but you better be willing to handle the lean years.”
    so maybe the commercial hit home this weekend but there are millions of Americans who work their entire career and wont make the $$$ in TOTAL of what your BF and others earn in one bonus check. and hopefully when your BF gets back to work one day and sees a dominos commercial, he will remember a time when he went from a wall st. fat cat to a main street american who had to worry about paying his bills…