To the unassuming couch potato and LAN party enthusiast, American pizza delivery giant Domino’s is a devastatingly efficient method of delivering delicious fat and carbs directly to your pasty, sun-starved face whenever your blood glucose monitor flashes ‘critical’.
But, in addition to its title as the world’s largest pizza delivery service, the iconic red, white and blue polka dot tile is somewhat of a disruptor, pioneer and philanthropist in the transport world. Or so it would have you believe.
Last year, the company made lots of new friends doing the job that local US councils had been long neglecting by repairing badly potholed neighbourhood roads. The Paving for Pizza program might have appeased local residents, but many saw through the seemingly selfless act as a way to increase delivery efficiency and reduce the number of damaged capricciosas en route.
Before that, Domino’s joined forces with Ford in the quest to develop self-driving technology with an initiative that used zero humans and one blue oval research vehicle to deliver the warm disc of Italian-American joy to your door.
Except it didn’t. As the only flesh involved was the pepperoni topping, the customer had to actually walk out of their house and down the driveway to meet the vehicle and, as most Domino’s enthusiasts require a forklift and a demolished wall to enable the move from one room to another (let along walk out of the house) the idea had limited success.
Back in 2012, the company launched a competition to design the perfect purpose-built pizza delivery vehicle with up to US$50,000 of prize money up for grabs. Inspiring creativity or breeding a new generation of pizza lovers and consumers?
Love or hate the Domino’s promo campaign, it’s definitely working. And it’s at it again. Although this time the left field initiative is less light-hearted publicity stunt and more Google-esque strategically sinister.
Upon first inspection, the AnyWare pizza ordering application seems innocent enough - well, as innocent as any application that makes it easier for you to feed your kids fast food. Among the friendly marketing buzzwords such as “streamlining” and “simple” the press release also reveals the application will be “pre-loaded in cars starting in 2019”.
I don’t know about you, but my car is my sanctuary. A place where I can insulate myself from everything I dislike about the world, and a safe haven from capitalism, commercialisation and excessive advertising.
And in the same way I despise my new phone arriving with an irremovable Facebook application that arrogantly assumes everyone on the planet has subscribed, if I discovered my new car had a Domino’s pizza application permanently wired in, I would be promptly rolling it off the nearest cliff.
I, like many Australians, will decide which brand of car I want, then I’ll spend as much time choosing the model, the variant, the colour and even the shade of stitching on the optional sports steering wheel. Consequently, I am more than capable of deciding which applications I need.
Pre-installing a fast food ordering application implies that I am so hooked on pizza that I simply can’t spare three minutes after taking delivery of my car to do the job myself, or I am incapable of making basic decisions. Both are offensive.
Of course, Domino’s says that’s not true and it is simply allowing users to “save time” but the pizza giant, supporting Xevo Market platform and the collaborating car brands are the real winners.
Domino’s hands over a greasy cheque to the manufacturers and every time you get a little bit peckish its renowned brand is front and centre. How do you feel about a global corporation making coin out of you through something that is likely to be your second largest lifetime investment?
In a twist of final perplexing irony, the AnyWare application is leapfrogging the core part of the service that forged the Domino’s business in the mid-1960s - delivery. Not only are you lining the company’s pocket, you’re going out of your way for the privilege.