Domino's Unleashes the Most Terrifying Print Ad in History

In Depth

What’s a pizza company to do if they want to get in on that sweet 50 Shades of Grey cash cow action, but have absolutely no promo connection to the infamous amalgam of Freaky Friend Fiction word snippets masquerading as dialogue? How about an ad referencing BDSM? OK, great, but even better: how about an ad that references BDSM while being as abjectly terrifying as humanly possible? Wait, what?

As far as I can tell, this may have been the actual thought process behind the recent Domino’s print ad campaign in Israel that spawned the image you’re about to witness. It was intended to promote their new Sriracha Pizza,* but has instead simultaneously promoted my gag reflex, adrenal glands, and tear ducts. I’m genuinely trying to figure out if this is worse than the PS3 Baby, and while I can’t decide a victor in that battle (whoever wins, we lose), I never thought we’d even have a contender for the PS3 Baby’s throne.

The full ad, forever saved to my computer as “dominosdeargod.jpg,” is below. I warn you, however: what you are about to see cannot be unseen. There’s no going back.

That is not a pizza ad. That is a still from one of Guillermo del Toro’s darker, grittier films. That is what happens when Eyes Wide Shut and At the Mountains of Madness gain sentience and decide to have a baby together. It’s as if some hilarious, laugh-track accompanied mix-up led to the minds behind Silent Hill being tasked with coming up with a pizza ad, and they decided to have as much fun with it as they possibly could. “No, come on, guys; we have to go weirder. A tongue with tiny E.T. arms is pretty bad, but what would make it worse?” “Oooh! A tongue with a mouth of its own, filled with a ball gag!” “YES.”

This is bad enough that the editor who sent me this, a woman with all the jaded stoicism and cynical reserve that comes from regularly reading and editing Mark Shrayber features, was reduced to a series of messages along the lines of “WHAT IS THIS, HELP.” It would actually be accurate to describe this ad as “offensive,” insofar as one is referencing the offense committed against eyeballs and the horrified neurons of a memory that will not scrub out. In my lifetime, Geico and Old Navy have waged a spirited war over who could fashion the worst advertisements possible (this broken-clock Greatest Commercial of All-Time Contender notwithstanding), but whoever devised this thing, this creeping, gnawing horror, makes them appear as children play-acting at the feet of a deity beyond their ken.

I have beheld the Beast With a Thousand Taste Buds, and am forever changed. The Abyss stared into me, and clutched within its glistening, razor-edged maw, I beheld only an extra large with pepperoni. If we’re ever genuinely concerned with malevolent space aliens coming and destroying Earth, we should just start beaming this thing into the far reaches of space, because there’s no way any group of extraterrestrial invaders wants any part of a tangle with the mind that devised this ad.

Update: Someone pointed out in the comments that Domino’s is attempting to disavow any connection to this ad, and using unclear language to imply that it’s fake. It is, however, a real ad pitched by the McCann Erickson Agency to an independent Domino’s franchise in Israel for a proposed print campaign. The kicker is that it never actually ran. Nevertheless, this was still a thing an actual professional ad agency thought would encourage people to buy pizza.

* This ad is so screwed up that I don’t even have a chance to point out how unbelievably gross Sriracha Pizza sounds. Dammit, Domino’s; is there no end to the misfortune you have wrought?

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