Pizza Wars erupted again Wednesday, and Betty Domino couldn't have been happier. She got two free pizzas from Pizza Hut just because her last name is Domino.
A pawn in an advertising game? Sure she was. But, hey, it was a free pizza.Pizza Hut has been moving in on Domino's dominance of the pizza-delivery business for months, and getting personal about it.
First, it was head-to-head competitive ads saying that Domino's employees prefer Pizza Hut pizza. Domino's corporate types huffed and cried foul, but they let it go without retaliation.
On Wednesday, Domino's matched Pizza Hut's stunt by offering a free Domino's pizza to anyone named Domino who didn't like Pizza Hut's product.
Pizza Hut is the nation's largest pizza chain with 8,000 outlets and estimated revenue of more than $4 billion in 1990. Domino's had $2.65 billion in revenue from its 5,200 delivery-only stores in 1990.
Before trumpeting Wednesday's stunt in a full-page ad in USA Today, Pizza Hut hired a public relations firm to find people named Domino and arranged for delivery to about 200 of them in 25 states. Specifically, they were looking for the ones who would be home during lunch hour to take delivery.
Betty Domino of River Rouge, Mich., about 15 miles south of Detroit, was one of them.
"I know it's only a pizza, but I feel honored that they picked me," she said.
Domino got a little special attention - an early phone call in addition to overnight mail alerting her to the freebie - because she was the Domino located closest to Domino's headquarters in Ann Arbor. She shared her two pepperoni pan pizzas with neighbors.
"I very seldom order it myself," she said. "I kind of try to watch my weight."