The Noid, Domino’s annoying pizza-destroying mascot from the ‘80s, is coming back to stop self-driving pizza delivery cars, and also to fight Crash Bandicoot. That’s not a sentence you expected to read, and I didn’t expect to write it, but here we are. Welcome to whatever version of reality this is.
Announced today, Domino’s is bringing back the Noid, a villainous character who first appeared in the pizza chain’s commercials in 1986. After starring in commercials, video games, and more for a few years as part of a bizarre marketing campaign, the Noid fell out of fashion around the same time a man in 1989 held Domino’s employees hostage, seemingly over his anger about the character.
But it’s 2021 and everything is stupid now, so the Noid is back.
One of his first missions is to kick Crash Bandicoot’s furry ass in mobile game Crash On The Run. The Noid will start appearing in the game as a mini-boss on May 7 for a limited time, and beating him will unlock some new pizza-themed skins and cosmetics.
I don’t know why; maybe Crash owes the Noid some money? Even the big press release Domino’s released announcing the Noid’s return doesn’t give a good reason, with the company writing, “Maybe it was the chaos of 2020 that gave the Noid the confidence to return, or possibly the fact that Domino’s has continued to innovate around great pizza delivery with amazing technology.”
The Noid will also star in Domino’s commercials in which he has to intercept and destroy Domino’s new self-driving robotic delivery vehicles, which are currently being tested in Houston, Texas. Domino’s Pizza paints this as yet another example of the villainous Noid being an annoying asshole.
“The Noid is Domino’s oldest and most famous villain, and the pizza delivery testing we’re doing with Nuro’s autonomous vehicle is exactly the kind of technology innovation that could provoke the Noid to return,” said Kate Trumbull, Domino’s VP of advertising.
I see it as a lone hero standing up against a giant, evil corporation that is looking to use robots and AI to get rid of jobs that thousands of people rely on to survive. Why exactly Domino’s would advertise its new technology with a campaign against its new technology is certainly a choice, and why it would do it all with an annoying character with a dark history is certainly another.
But self-driving cars are dangerous and terrible, so no, Domino’s, I will not “avoid the Noid.” Instead, I’ll celebrate and cheer him on, despite how much I hate him, as he fights to protect peoples’ lives and livelihoods from being destroyed.