Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
I get my pizzas from Sandrino.
Sandro and his wife came to California from northern Italy.
They make the pizzas from scratch. Themselves. In front of you.
It's what they call authenticity.
Sometimes, people think they can get authenticity through PR. Often, these people are called PR people.
So I'm moved by two stories from two famous pizza brands, neither of which could make pizza like Sandrino's Trentina.
First, there was Domino's.
As the Consumerist reported, the staff at an Oregon Domino's had a regular customer.
Suddenly, that customer stopped ordering.
The Domino's manager wasn't angry. She was concerned. So she sent one of his delivery drivers to the customer's house to see if he was OK. They knew he had health issues.
The driver discovered something wasn't right. He called paramedics. They found the man on the ground. It may be that the intervention of the manager and driver saved the man's life.
The story got reported. Domino's looked like a brand that thought not just about pizzas, but about its customers.
And then there's Pizza Hut.
Pizza Hut would like you to know that it's delivered a pizza to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
I can feel your admiration. I sense a swelling inside you, nudging you to order a Pizza Hut dinner this evening.
If they can move their pizza up a mountain, it must be an amazing pizza.
It must be a pizza beyond pizzas.
There again, Pizza Hut could just be launching in Tanzania and wanting to get some publicity for that.
After all, this delivery to the 19,347-foot peak of Kilimanjaro puts it into the Guinness World Records collection.
This question might have struck you: To whom was Pizza Hut delivering the pizzas?
It seems that its executives, employees and the guides who got them to the top shared the pepperoni masterpiece themselves.
Of course, this record attempt raised money for charity.
However, Domino's entirely unplanned PR offers something more fundamental.
It says something about the brand and its attitude to its customers, rather than, say, its altitude of delivery.
Sometimes, PR people become enamored of stunts that gain publicity. Any publicity.
The best publicity is, however, generated by something that approximates to the truth in action.
It works the same way in reverse. If a brand does something frightful in real life -- such as the celebrated Comcast retention agent who seemed ready to kidnap a departing customer rather than letting them leave -- that has the most damaging effect on its image.
The best PR isn't concocted, fake or manipulated by supposed experts.
It's the genuine stuff.
Just like Sandrino's pizzas.