This has to be one of the best marketing stories I’ve ever heard:
So there’s this small college town where the local place, let’s call it Al’s Pizza, had been relatively competition free for a long time until a new Domino’s Franchise sprouted up. Domino’s promptly began killing Al’s. Al tries various promotions, specials, deals, etc. of his own devising. Doesn’t help. Damn college kids are just flocking to Domino’s, Al’s is going down the tubes. At some point Al gets a pitch from some guy who claims to be a marketing consultant. Al says OK, tell me what to do, if I’m still in business a year from now, you get paid.
So this guy goes around to the student center, dorm lounges, etc. and says “Hey, anybody want pizza? You order, I’m buying.” (a hard sell I’m sure) Guy watches as every time the college kids pull out the yellow pages and read the number for Domino’s off the big full-page ad. Guy notes the much smaller, consistently ignored “Al’s” ad on the facing page. Guy goes back to Al and says “OK, here’s what you’re going to do...”
The next week, the campus is flooded with flyers from Al’s proclaiming “A large one-topping pizza for ONE DOLLAR with this coupon and the Domino’s ad from your yellow pages”. In a matter of days, no one knows Domino’s phone number any more. Consultant gets paid. Al runs this promo yearly, just to be sure.