Friday, November 2, 2012

80s Advertising: The Noid

80s Advertising: The Noid

In 1986, Domino's Pizza debuted a new character in its TV commercials... The Noid. Part troublemaker and part creepy guy in a red rabbit-eared bodysuit, the Noid was a physical manifestation of everything that could go wrong in a 30 minute pizza delivery. The mascot became an insanely popular character in the late 80s and early 90s, appearing on everything from t-shirts to plush toys to video games. Credit Domino's for using the claymation talents of Will Vinton, the same person who brought the California Raisins to life, to make their annoying pizza antagonist the best he could be. At the height of his popularity, the Noid could be found on popular television shows like The Simpsons and even in a segment of the Michael Jackson: Moonwalker film. Since his rise to fame, the Noid has made a few short comebacks in recent years to let us know that he's not finished annoying us.
With Domino's atop the pizza game in the mid 80s with their "30-Minute Guarantee," the Noid continued to add to the pizza chain's popularity. His name originated from the word "annoyed" (a Noid) and did everything he could to foil Domino's plans to make a great pizza. Later, the famous catchphrase "Avoid The Noid" became instantly associated with pizza, like the conditional reflex of Pavlov's dogs. A couple years after his debut, the Noid was showing up everywhere including Toy R' Us stores and in our homes on the Commodore 64 computer. The first video game was called Avoid the Noid, only appearing as a platform computer game. The plot was simple...carry your pizza to the top floor of the apartment building and "avoid the Noid" along the way by running, unlocking doors, and doing somersaults. "Advergames" were obviously a blatant attempt to sell brand name products but that never stopped us from playing Kool-Aid Man on Atari 2600 in 1983 or 7UP's Cool Spot on Sega Genesis in the early 90s. A new Noid game was produced for NES a year later in 1990 called Yo! Noid, which finally let us control the Noid instead of avoiding him...
The Noid has come out of retirement a few times over the past decade. In 2006, The Noid appeared on an episode of Family Guy that didn't end well. In 2009, the pizza gremlin also appeared in an episode of 30 Rock as well as on throwback t-shirts to sell as a benefit for St. Jude's Children's Hospital. Just last year in 2011, the Noid was used in promotional campaigns for Domino's Facebook page. Many of us still have figurines of the Noid in our keepsake boxes and some of us have even created our own nostalgic Noid action figures (the figure to the right could cause some serious delivery time delays.) But whether he did his job and annoyed you or whether you thought he was funny character, The Noid was an 80s advertising campaign that was highly successful and not easily forgettable. Now, I dare you to avoid thinking about the Noid the next time you order pizza!