One Big Summer Showdown - The Battle for Your Appetite
by Alex Billington
July 14, 2008
Some of the best rivals are in food: Coke and Pepsi, McDonald's and Burger King, Lay's and Pringles. This summer, two rivals have been battling for box office supremacy while at the same time delivering delicious pizzas: Papa John's and Domino's. I always thought promotions tied with food were always gimmicky - I'm not going to change what I eat just because it has Batman on it. But either that's what they're hoping for, or they're just trying to gain some extra exposure with pizza lovers, because that's what this summer's big battle has come down to: The Dark Knight at Domino's and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor at Papa John's. The Dark Knight is easily going to kick Mummy's ass at the box office, but when it comes to pizza, I prefer Papa John's by far. So how do I handle this debacle?!
This all began when we discovered that one of the websites involved in the viral campaign for The Dark Knight, gothamcitypizzeria.com, was presented by Domino's. Soon thereafter a viral game appeared where fans had to order a pizza and would receive a custom-made Batman pizza box and some goodies from the viral campaign (in addition to a free pizza). Barely a week later, Papa John's debuted their website with a trailer for The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, a quick way to gain attention but not keep the fans active. Since then I've seen commercials involving car chases (Domino's) and so much more promotion for both restaurants. I would hardly say it's a heated battle, but considering these two pizza places are rivals, I'm sure they're hoping each film is as successful as the other so that they'll sell a few more pizzas.
So why the heck am I talking about pizza again? Because like every movie geek out there, I love pizza! And the saddest part is that I'm a big fan of Papa John's. While I enjoy Domino's, when I must make a choice, it's always Papa John's. In terms of movies, there's not even a question - The Dark Knight is vastly superior to The Mummy 3. And remarkably I've almost convinced myself it might be worth ordering a "Gotham City Pizza" from Domino's just to say that I did and just to check out one of those sweet Batman-themed pizza boxes that they use. Even I'm falling into the marketing trap just because they've combined two of my loves: pizza and movies! But alas, here I am, enjoying my Papa John's pizza and writing shamelessly about how crazy this promotional campaign is - all just for fun and for your amusement.
In the end, I think Domino's got the best deal out of this, largely because The Dark Knight has so many more fans and so much more buzz. Plus they got to attach onto one of the best viral marketing campaigns ever in addition to Warner Bros. providing them with better prizes and the ability to manufacturer pizza boxes themed like Batman. Papa John's, on the other hand, is banking purely on interest in The Mummy 3, which I think hardly anyone has, and thus the campaign is rather stagnant, since there isn't an awesome viral campaign or anything else. Anyway, you've probably heard enough of my bantering about pizza to get your mouth watering, so in turn I suggest you now make a choice of your own: The Dark Knight at Domino's or The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor at Papa John's? Which will it be?