Domino's Pizza doesn't get any brownie points for this idea

October 02, 2006|By KEVIN COWHERD

If you want to get big and fat in this country and grow to the size of the Goodyear blimp, there is no shortage of opportunities to do so.

The latest comes courtesy of the folks at Domino's Pizza, who have come up with a new offer that makes some of their previous offers look like an order of celery sticks by comparison.

The new offer is this: order a large pizza and Domino's will throw in a free order of 10 oven-baked brownies.

Yes, brownies.

Apparently, this is being offered on the theory that after someone polishes off, say, a thick, cheesy, pepperoni pizza and collapses on the couch in a stupor, the first thing he or she thinks is: Boy, it would be great to have some brownies right about now.

Pizza and brownies - is that an artery-clogging doubleheader, or what?

But apparently the folks at Domino's don't see it that way.

In fact, when they first came up with the idea of pairing pizza and brownies, someone in the room must have said: "What are we, health nuts? Let people live a little!"

So in addition to throwing in free brownies with their pizza, Domino's will also throw in free - I'll probably gain 10 pounds just typing this - fudge-brownie dipping sauce!

Yes! Thick, gooey fudge-brownie dipping sauce!

You could blacktop your driveway with this stuff, it's so thick.

I'm surprised they're not encouraging people to dip the pizza into the fudge-brownie dipping sauce, too.

But maybe they feel people will figure that out on their own.

Anyway, after I first saw the Domino's commercials for this incredible new offer, I called Colleen Pierre, a registered dietitian who used to write a nutrition column for The Sun.

She listened to my description of the new offer in stunned silence, which was not surprising.

Look, describing a meal of pizza, brownies and fudge dipping sauce to a registered dietitian is like describing a baby-seal hunt to a member of Greenpeace.

I could feel her horror on my end of the line.

"It never ends," she said finally, meaning the ways in which Americans are encouraged to eat the worst stuff imaginable.

The Domino's Web site says that two of the brownies alone contain 160 calories and 7 grams of fat.

Slather them in fudge dipping sauce - 110 calories per container - and you might feel yourself expanding before you're even through chewing.

And this, of course, is after you've slammed two, three or four slices of pizza, with around 220 calories and 4 grams to 7 grams of fat per slice.

Pierre examined the issue using an NRA-like corollary: Brownies don't kill people. Eating too many brownies might kill people.

"If you have 10 people and each eats one, it's perfect," she said. "Everybody gets a bite.

"But if you're alone and you eat all 10 yourself, that's ... a lot," she said diplomatically.

Oh, yeah. Eat all 10 and you might as well spend the next two days on the treadmill.

And since these Brownie Squares are kind of small - about an inch in diameter - I have a feeling people will be knocking them back like they're cocktail peanuts.

If you have any doubt about which demographic Domino's is targeting with its new pizza-brownie-dipping sauce offer, check out the commercials.

A mother and her young daughter answer the door. The Domino's guy is there. He's brought their pizza.

Only he's brought, um, "someone" with him.

And that "someone" is some kind of annoying walking brownie that he introduces as "Fudgems." (And readers wonder if I make up this stuff.)

Anyway, the mother pats the walking brownie and the little kid hugs the stupid thing, and they both get chocolate stains all over themselves.

And that's basically the whole commercial. But when you watch it, the first thing you think is: Hello, target audience!

"My fear," said Pierre, "is that the purchasers are going to be families with youngish children, and that the kids are going to be eating this way [from now on]."

Beautiful.

And they keep getting rid of gym class in more and more schools.

kevin.cowherd@baltsun.com

To hear podcasts featuring Kevin Cowherd, go to baltimoresun.com/cowherd.

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