- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Domino’s Pizza’s Team Washington will continue aggressively marketing its 60 locations despite the recent death of franchise owner Frank Meeks.

Mr. Meeks, 48, died Nov. 9 of complications from pneumonia.

“We will have as strong a marketing program as we have had in the past,” said Susan Fulton, marketing director. “But I don’t think we can ever replace the charismatic personality that Frank had.”

Mr. Meeks was a marketing mastermind whose creativity and unique style helped turn his pizza-delivery business into a fast-growing franchise.

Team Washington is run by David Carraway, who has been with the company for almost 20 years. Mr. Carraway is in the process of buying the franchise, Ms. Fulton said.

“Among [Mr. Meeks’] many strengths was his ability to build a great team, fire them up with a strong vision and give them the freedom to succeed,” said Tim McIntyre, vice president of communications for Domino’s Pizza in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Team Washington “is filled with great leadership, and we are confident that it will continue to succeed as one of Domino’s top franchise companies,” he said.

Mr. Meeks’ marketing ideas put Washington’s Domino’s franchise on the map and built his company into one of the five largest Domino’s franchises.

He opened his first location in 1983 on Duke Street in Alexandria and made a point to create promotions that had some relation to local news, world events and pop culture.

For example, when it was announced that the District was getting a Major League Baseball team, the Domino’s local franchise asked its customers, who had been rooting for the Orioles for 33 years, to bring in their Orioles paraphernalia in exchange for a free pizza. The Orioles merchandise was donated to a children’s charity.

Team Washington’s Pizza Meter, an unscientific poll, took a look into the relationship between pizza orders and events and people worldwide.

For example, the last Pizza Meter found that hotel heiress Paris Hilton was the top fake name used for pizza orders in 2003 and that the night of Saddam Hussein’s capture was the biggest tipping night of last year.

The Pizza Meter was introduced in the early 1990s and predicted when the Persian Gulf War was going to start based on the significant increase in late-night deliveries to the White House.

“Frank was a marketing maverick,” said Eric Yaverbaum, president and co-founder of Jericho Communications, Team Washington’s public-relations agency. “Frank not only did an incredible job of marketing Domino’s Team Washington, but he has helped the entire organization.”

The zanier the idea, the better: From promoting Domino’s World’s Fastest Pizza Maker — who for seven years came from Team Washington — to rewarding procrastinating taxpayers with pizza as they waited in line at a D.C. post office on April 15.

“I’m not doing this to make Frank Meeks a star,” Mr. Meeks told The Washington Times in January. “I just want to sell pizza.”

Mr. Yaverbaum says the company will continue to follow in Mr. Meeks’ marketing footsteps.

“You’ll see — in true Frank spirit — Team Washington will continue to do breakout marketing work,” he said.

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