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.
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.