What Companies, Besides Domino's, Have Admitted on TV: "We Stink"?

I haven’t eaten a Domino’s pizza in nearly 20 years, so I can’t really remember how good or bad it used to be, and have no idea if it’s really gotten any better.

Still, I know they’ve been the butt of jokes for a long time, and that numerous posters on the SDMB (and countless gripers elsewhere) have long derided it. And Domino’s recent commercials seem to acknowledge that their critics are right!

It’s interesting to see a major company’s management go on TV and pretty much ADMIT, “Our product sucks, and we’re trying to fix that.”

The closest thing I can think of was A & P supermarkets’ unsuccessful “Price and Pride” campaign back in the Seventies.

But can you think of any other commercial campaign that’s been built around an admission that, “Our product has been lousy, and we don’t blame you for not buying it?”

McDonald’s recently upgraded their coffee, which was pretty much an admission that their old coffee was subpar.

Winn Dixie’s slogan is something like “Getting Better.”

Well, Coke, after the New Coke thing.

Seems to me that Iacocca went on air with a Chrysler sucks sort of admission after the bailout.

Hardees? did the same thing in a big way a few years ago IIRC. They went so far as to (roughly) say they would be going from some of the crappiest hamburgers around to about the best you could get.

I vividly remember thinking multiple times that I should give em a try and see how good the burgers had become.

Actually, it’s more because they want a piece of Starbuck’s action. They didn’t just upgrade their coffee, they went complete swine into fancy coffee.

All those different people claiming “Windows 7 was my idea” seems like an admission that the previous version was bad.

It was indeed Hardees, billfish. Marketing genius, as it actually made me go in and try one. (Yes, they were much better.)

By the way, the new Domino’s is much better, although mostly it’s the crust. Papa John’s is still the best.

Ballantine’s Complaint, a series Stan Freberg print and radio ads for Ballantine beer (“Baseball and Ballantine”). Ballantine was a major beer in New York, but started losing market share in the 1960s.

Stan Freberg did a series of ads showing a fictional Mr. Ballantine on a psychiatrist’s couch (a reference both in setting and title to Portnoy’s Complaint, a notorious and popular book at the time). Ballantine would complain about how someone took over the brewery when he was doing other things and was making lousy beer, but now he had fixed things so that they were doing it right again.

The ad campaign didn’t help, though. The company was soon sold. The brand has staggered on, but is pretty much forgotten.

I don’t think advertising a new product is an admission that the old product is bad, at least not to the extent that the Dominoes commercials are. In the new Dominoes campaign, they’re not only boosting their new pizzia, or even just saying that its better then their old pizza, they literally say their old pizza tasted bad.

Don’t ALL beer companies that fail fail that way? :slight_smile:

It’s possible to interpret any claimed improvement to a product as an implicit admission that the older version was judged lacking - I imagine this comes up all the time in ad agencies. Domino’s is very explicitly admitting that people didn’t like their old pizza in this new campaign, though.

I seem to recall Continental Airlines running an ad campaign some years ago highlighting the fact that their customer satisfaction ratings were among the worst in the industry, and that they were working hard to change that, blah-blah-blah.

Wait, what are the new Domino’s ads and how do they acknowledge that they suck?

I agree it isn’t the same as the Dominos commercial, but I think the campaign is doing a bit more than just advertising a new product. At the very least, the campaign suggests that consumer suggestions and possibly complaints were taken into consideration when designing the new product.

I don’t have a dog in this fight, but it’s my impression that Windows had developed kind of a bad reputation as a problematic operating system. The negative reputation was no doubt driven in part by the Mac commercials mocking different versions of Windows. My impression of the Windows 7 ad campaign is that it’s a tacit nod to this bad reputation, and an indication that customer feedback was taken seriously in developing the new and superior product. YMMV.

Here’s a transcript of an NPR spot about them, dated January 1, 2010.

Gerald Ratner, cheif exec of a big jewellery chain,admitted that his products were ‘total crap.’ It wasn’t on TV originally but I do remember TV interviews where he repeated the admission while denying it at the same time.

Well, the roster of things for Mad Magazine to bash has typically included… Mad Magazine! Especially in the 60’s and 70’s.

Of course, this is a special case.

And as far as improving after any such “admission” I can just see Alfred E. Neuman protesting "WHAT…?"

Didn’t Starbucks basically do this when they shut down their stores for a weekend to retrain people on how to make coffee?

Did those post-bailout GM commercial counts? The new President (or whoever) came out in a suit and made some statement about how they were revamping their product lines to make them better and smarter. What was wrong with them to begin with?