Here in America, when the government fails to repair crumbling roads, your favorite cheesy late-night dinner option steps in. Domino's latest marketing ploy is to fill potholes across the country in an effort to keep its goods secure.
"Potholes, cracks, and bumps in the road can cause irreversible damage to your pizza during the drive home from Domino's," the company wrote, announcing its initiative. "So we're helping to pave in towns across the country to save your good pizza from these bad roads."
The tongue-in-cheek campaign humorously touches on the reality that today, more than ever, companies increasingly are playing a role in addressing civic issues.
Not far from our office in Detroit, monthslong rumors were confirmed that Ford Motor Co. has purchased and will be rehabbing the decrepit Michigan Central Station, an icon of the city's peak and eventual decline. The automaker has offices nearby focused on autonomous and electric vehicle development, and it is planning a wider campus around the former train station. Ford's move is an important signal that a city once written off by, well, nearly everyone has a practical role to play in the future of transportation.
If corporations want to reap public accolades for drawing attention to important issues or investing for social good, they should be mindful that corporate citizenship is more than just big marketing campaigns. Hard-nosed politicking could matter more. Domino's stunt may have landed better if it put real lobbying or financial weight behind encouraging more infrastructure investment. We're still waiting to hear Ford's full plans for the train station, but hopefully, they will address concerns over a rapidly changing neighborhood whose history is near and dear to many locals.
As private companies — and in particular, private transportation companies — get involved in public concerns and services, they should be prepared to bear the responsibility of stewardship that governments have traditionally held.
— Shiraz Ahmed