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The Noid as he appears in a 1980s commercial for Domino's Pizza
|Created by||Group 243|
|Voiced by||Pons Maar|
The Noid is an advertising character for Domino's Pizza created in the 1980s. Clad in a red, skin-tight, rabbit-eared body suit with a black N inscribed in a white circle, the Noid was a physical manifestation of all the challenges inherent in getting a pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less. Though persistent, his efforts were repeatedly thwarted.
The Noid was created in 1986 by Group 243, the advertising agency of record for Domino's Pizza. Group 243 hired Will Vinton Studios to sketch the Noid and animate the commercials. The Noid character design was chosen by Christopher Baker and Brian Baker, sons of Scott Baker, master franchisor for the European market at the time, from a collection of prototypes. Commercials that featured the character used the slogan "Avoid the Noid." The character was voiced by Pons Maar.
In 1988 a Saturday morning cartoon series called The Noids was planned by CBS that would have featured the Noid, but the series was scrapped amid complaints that it was merely an advertising ploy and not a show for children.
As part of the advertising campaign, a computer game was released in 1989 called Avoid the Noid. The object of the game is to deliver a pizza within a half-hour time limit in an apartment building swarming with Noids (some of which are armed with pizza-seeking missiles or water balloons). The common version is version 1.0 and has CGA graphics and PC speaker sound effects, although version 1.1 also exists which added support for EGA graphics and Adlib music. In 1990, Capcom released a different video game, Yo! Noid, for the NES.
30 minute guarantee
Starting in 1979, Domino's Pizza had a guarantee that customers would receive their pizzas within 30 minutes of placing an order or they would receive the pizzas free, until the mid-1980s when it was reduced to $3 off. This resulted in delivery drivers driving recklessly, and because of this, the Noid, the embodiment of this guarantee, was reworked for the company's brand, which is why the later commercials were in more suburban environments rather than a cartoony location.
After several accidents and one death allegedly caused by the 30 Minute Guarantee policy, Domino's Pizza was sued for many millions of dollars in damages in several cases dating to the 1980s. In 1993, after a jury awarded more than $78 million dollars to a woman injured when a Domino's delivery driver ran a red light, Domino's announced the 30 Minute Guarantee promotions were terminated.
Kenneth Lamar Noid
On January 30, 1989, Kenneth Lamar Noid, a mentally ill man who thought the ads were a personal attack on him, held two employees of an Atlanta Domino's restaurant hostage for over five hours. After forcing them to make him a special pizza and a salad and making demands for $100,000, getaway transportation, and a copy of The Widow's Son, Noid surrendered to the police. After the incident ended, Police Chief Reed Miller told reporters, "He's paranoid." Noid was charged with kidnapping, aggravated assault, extortion, and possession of a firearm during a crime. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity. Noid spent three months in a mental institution, but eventually committed suicide in 1995. This incident has been insinuated to have caused Domino's Pizza to discontinue advertising using the Noid as their mascot, though this has been rejected by the company and the advertisers.
Return of the Noid
Domino's brought the Noid back for a limited run of 1,000 T-shirts in December 2009. On May 4, 2011, the Noid was brought back as a promotional figure by Domino's to be used in a campaign on their Facebook page, and made a brief appearance as a stuffed toy at the end of a May 2011 commercial promoting a one-topping pizza deal. The 25th birthday of the Noid mascot was marked with the video game The Noid's Super Pizza Shootout, a tribute to Avoid the Noid.
In June 2016, Spooky Pinball LLC announced the release of their new licensed pinball machine, Domino's Spectacular Pinball Adventure prominently featuring The Noid character.
During 2016, the Noid appeared and was referenced in some Domino's commercials, as part of their USA "Pizza Payback" campaign.
The Noid was seen tattooed on the arm of a winner of shares of Domino's stock, in a commercial aired during the NFL playoffs, January 15, 2017.
The Noid can be seen briefly in the background of a 2017 Domino's ad.
References in popular culture
The Noid has been referred to in popular culture, including two episodes of Family Guy (an altercation with Mayor West in the episode "Deep Throats" and being sexually assaulted by Bill Cosby in the episode "Peter's Sister"), in an episode of 30 Rock, in a segment of Michael Jackson: Moonwalker and in two episodes of The Simpsons, once as a Thanksgiving Day parade balloon in the episode "Homer vs. Dignity," and the other in person in the episode "She of Little Faith". The Noid is referred to in the 19th episode of season 2 of The Goldbergs (set in the 1980s), when Barry lands a job delivering pizzas and is told how important it is to "avoid the Noid". He is so bad at his job, the boss eventually accuses Barry of being the Noid. The Noid was also discussed extensively on the September 7th, 2017 episode of the podcast Chapo Trap House.
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