After a 26-year hiatus, Domino’s has recently resurrected an old mascot called the Noid. A strange little man who wears a red bodysuit with rabbit ears, the Noid has one goal: prevent people from enjoying pizza at all costs.
For those of you who have no idea who the Noid is, you can watch the clip below to see him in action in full 80’s claymation glory, complete with the signature mantra, “Avoid the Noid!”
Now, the Noid makes his return amidst the era of driverless cars, his new mission consisting of an attempt to prevent driverless deliveries from happening on time. (And yes, Domino’s is testing driverless deliveries powered by Nuro.)
The real story of the Noid
Brand representatives say that the brand retired the Noid in 1995 to make room for mascots Donnie and Dottie Domino. Behind the scenes however, there was more going on.
The Noid first became the subject of controversy in 1989, when a man from Georgia named Kenneth Noid took the mascot as a personal insult. Kenneth Noid went into a Domino’s and held two employees at gunpoint in a standoff that lasted for hours. Fortunately, the incident that day ended without any fatalities or injuries.
But Noid’s issues were not over. Though Kenneth Noid was charged with kidnapping and assault, he was found not guilty on the basis of insanity and put in an institution. 7 years later, in 1995, Noid committed suicide.
A spokesperson from Domino’s recently told Adweek:
“It was truly a horrible and unfortunate tragedy that came from an unexpected coincidence. Those who worked for the company during that time recall that we had a new ad agency and CMO and were already planning to move onto a new advertising message when the incident happened.”
Redemption for the Noid?
Given the tragic incidents associated with the Noid mascot, it’s understandable that the return to the Noid could be undertaken with some degree of trepidation. But considering the amount of time that has passed, industry experts are optimistic about the positive reception possible for the reintroduction of the Noid. Larry Chiagouris, professor of marketing at Pace University’s Lubin School of Business, remarks:
“It should be remembered that many people do not even remember who was president of the United States 25 years ago—and [they’re] certainly not likely to remember who was vice president. So remembering a hostage-taking event of more than 30 years ago is not likely to be any obstacle to Domino’s.”
Additionally, the fact that Domino’s responded to the incidents appropriately when they originally took place works in their favor. Tim Calkins, a clinical professor of marketing at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, says:
“There’s nothing in the story that suggests Domino’s did anything wrong or that Domino’s doesn’t make a wonderful pizza or Domino’s doesn’t deliver with appropriate speed. And I think for that reason, they said it’s probably worth the risk.”