The Domino Effect

Shannon FaganIf you’ve been following trade publications, Twitter, or industry blogs recently, you’re quite likely aware of the recent Domino’s Pizza campaign underway by advertising agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky.

The pizza giant recently launched Show Us Your Pizza (, a website where consumers can upload photos of Domino’s pizza for a chance to win $500 and the possibility of having their photo appear in an advertisement.

I believe this development to be significantly more important than a simple “show us your pizza” campaign. Its genius speaks to an industry insight now observed by the clientele base hiring photographers as well as the content creators’ in our midst.

As shown in a PetaPixel blog post (complete with hysterical video of a pizza photo shoot play-by-play)  Domino’s recently took the general public into their pizza test kitchens to show a behind-the-scenes professional photo shoot/TV commercial in progress. The director, stylist, chef, and team were interviewed. This was done before the $500 snapshot contest.

Let’s compare this to what we are observing in the commercial photography industry. An industry volatile for sustainability has seen a rapid growth in the training of its own competition. There are more educational photography blogs, lighting videos on YouTube, and self-help starter books for photographic education; let alone the booming photo contest industry, all pointing as backup evidence that a significant shift has occurred.

An industry infatuated with making money as a professional career does not set out to train its competition to take business out from under it. Commercial photography is seeing a developmental shift of where money is made. One could theorize that there is more money in training other photographers than there is in being a photographer oneself.

Domino’s pizza may not be training the next generation of pizza chefs, but it is training the hearts and minds of Americans that low-level crowd-sourced imagery is acceptable for high exposure advertising. This is a trend that has been developing for years and shows no signs of abatement. The intellectual prowess of this campaign is not the $500 award awaiting the best incoming iPhone pizza shot, but rather the conceptual take to turn an industry trend for photography in on itself to further assist its exacerbation.

What do you think about this? How is it affecting you?

Listen to BTW: Photography in the Digital Age can help you figure out how to weather this storm. [audio:]