After decades of avoiding it, Domino's brings back the Noid

Matt Schimkowitz
·2 min read
The Noid
The Noid

Since 1989, we’ve lived within a fragile, unspoken peace agreement, a cold war between the good citizens of Earth and Domino’s pizza. As long as humanity continued to buy Domino’s a couple of times a month because they want pizza but not, like, real pizza, just Domino’s now and then, the company would not unleash its most annoying, its most sinister, its most insipid weapon: the Noid. Unaware of how good we’ve had it, the world continued turning, occasionally buying and enjoying Domino’s in exchange for a Noid-less existence. But last week, Domino’s broke the silent treaty that helped innocents everywhere avoid the Noid for more than 30 years.

In a recent commercial hocking Domino’s new brand of dystopian driverless delivery vehicles, the Noid is back to doing what it does best: trying to stop Domino’s deliveries. The Noid chops down trees, tears up asphalt, and inflates a giant balloon of itself all in the name of stopping the faceless corporate automation that threatens the jobs of pizza delivery drivers around the world. Honestly, it bears asking: Is the Noid good now?

Read more

For those unfamiliar, the Noid was a Domino’s mascot from the 1980s. Something of a weird phenomenon on the scale of the 7-Up Cool Spot, the Noid appeared on t-shirts, in video games, and, unfortunately for the Noid, in Michael Jackson’s movie Moonwalker. However, despite the Noid’s massive cultural impact, Domino’s preemptively canceled the Noid in 1989 following a Noid-related hostage situation. You read that correctly.

As covered by The A.V. Club back in 2018, Domino’s dropped the Noid mascot after a 1989 incident in which a mentally ill man named Kenneth Lamar Noid took two Domino’s employees hostage because he felt the commercials were personally mocking him. Thankfully, no one was injured—though, Kenneth Noid forced the two employees to make him an “ExtravaganZZa” pizza, which, according to the Washington Post, featured “four kinds of meat, several vegetables and extra mozzarella” during the standoff. That’s not not harmful.

Domino’s denies that the incident played any part in the Noid’s retirement, helping to explain why they brought him back. Today, Domino’s is throwing us back into the Noid world because they are testing Nuro’s R2 robot, which is great because you don’t have to pay a machine to deliver pizza. Appropriately enough, the Noid is also appearing in the latest Crash Bandicoot game. (He really does feel like he belongs in a Crash game, doesn’t he?) However, those of us who are desperately out of practice in Noid aversion must retrain ourselves for battle. Get ready, world. The Noid is back.