Domino's CEO J. Patrick Doyle

I liked our old pizza, but there were a whole lot of people out there who didn't. Any time you suggested ordering from Domino's, there would always be one or two people who would say: "Really? I don't like that pizza."

We thought that was O.K. because we're really fast, and we give good service. The one complaint we always heard was that the crust tastes like cardboard. That one bothered us the most. I think it was a function of our delivery heritage: It was getting delivered in cardboard boxes.

It wasn't a hard choice to change the pizza. But it was absolutely a calculated risk to advertise it this way. There was no Plan B. If it didn't work, there was no going back. You can't say your old pizza was bad and this new pizza is great and expect to go back to the old formula if people don't like it. My initial reaction to the campaign was: "Wow, that's incredibly blunt." The more I digested the idea, the more comfortable I got. This new pizza was dramatically different. It tasted better—there was no question. We knew all we had to do was get people to try it.

When they launched New Coke (KO), they didn't go out and say old Coke was horrible, they didn't get rid of old Coke. They sold them both. We couldn't do that. It took about 18 months to get to this formula. We were doing it through the absolute teeth of the recession, and we knew it would result in a higher-cost pizza.

All of the late-night shows tried to say [our pizza was bad] in a slightly more outrageous way to see if it would offend us. We would direct them to our ads and point out that we were saying the same thing. Personally, when Conan O'Brien did a piece about me, it was a bit surreal. He talked about the leprechaun CEO at Domino's and said the problem was that there was an Irish guy making pizza. Stephen Colbert made us his Alpha Dog of the Week. He completely retold our story in a funnier way. Everyone watching knew that our pizza had changed. To me, that was beautiful.

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