The Noid, a mascot for the American pizza chain Domino's, appearing in commercials animated by Will Vinton Studios (a pioneer for the use of clay in stop-motion, and a story within itself when it was bought out and later became Laika Studios in 2005), was a huge hit in the late 1980's.
He was a small 'humanoid' character in a red jumpsuit and long ears who 'annoyed' anyone who ordered a pizza by attempting to ruin it by making it cold, smashing it, or by various other ways of destruction. But Domino's used their "hot and quality" product (along with their guarantee of '30 minute or less' delivery or $3.00 off the order) to "Avoid the Noid."
The mascot proved very successful. An abundance of merchandise from comic books to clothes and toys were created in a short amount of time. CBS was in the works to create an entire television series based around the character, but was later canceled due to backlash from groups saying it was merely a ploy to advertise towards children. The ad campaign even spawned two video games, a PC game called "Avoid the Noid" and the now cult arcade/NES game, "Yo! Noid" in its final days.
But despite the popularity, The Noid only lasted for about three years due to an unforeseeable incident in 1989.
January 30th 1989
A 22 year old, mentally ill man named Kenneth Lamar Noid, on January 30th 1989 at about 11am, attempted to hold up a Domino's in Georgia with a .357-caliber Magnum revolver. Informing the facility to call the Domino's Headquaters in Ann Arbor, Michigan and tell them his demands. He was convinced that the Domino's company owner at the time, Tom S. Monaghan, was personally insulting and attacking him through the use of the obnoxious character of the same name and telling people to avoid him, also believing that Monaghan had been coming into his apartment to "look around."
Holding two employees hostage, Noid demanded $100,000 and a getaway vehicle of a white limousine. Noid fired warning gunshots into the ceiling and floor through out the incident.
Up to 6 hours later, the employees had escaped uninjured after making two pizzas (and possibly a salad) for Noid, fleeing out the door while he ate. Minutes later, Noid surrendered to the police. He was charged with two counts of kidnapping, two counts of aggravated assault, extortion, and possession of a firearm during a crime. A local judge ordered him to undergo psychiatric evaluation and put him a $250,000 bail. He wasn't found guilty at his official court hearing on February 17th due to insanity.
Police Chief Reed Miller, commenting on Noid's past criminal record for the press said, either in a straight forward comment, an inappropriate joke, or unfortunately termed, "He's paranoid." Similarly, the practice of word play became a common theme with the media headlines reporting at the time. Like LA Times' "Pizza Workers Can't 'Avoid Noid'--Held Hostage 5 Hours." With the possible intent of the Police Chief's comment and the reports, it can be argued they made Kenneth Noid's delusions a reality to some degree.
Kenneth Lamar Noid later spent several months in a mental institution and would later commit suicide on February 23rd 1995 at the age of 28 in Tallahassee, Florida.
Domino's had no choice but to discontinue the mascot about a year later due to the black cloud left over the character by the incident.
Later Revival of The Character
Over 20 years after the incident however, Domino's Pizza has started to use the mascot again in multiple areas of their branding as a nostalgic call-back since 2009. The Noid as appeared in a handful of promotional campaigns since then.
Domino's "PizzaPayback" Campaign Ad
Noid can be seen at the 0:27 markOriginal Uploader: Donny Brunner on Vimeo
In 2011 they launched a Facebook game called "The Noid's Super Pizza Shootout" commemorating the character's 25th anniversary, where players with high scores would win coupons (the game is no longer available to play).
"The Noid's Super Pizza Shootout" PromoOriginal Uploader: Andrew Lincoln on Vimeo
In 2016, for the 30th aniversary, an image and fact about a cut character named 'Doig', The Noid's like-dressed dog.
With the time spanning since the incident in 1989, and a nostalgic country willing to look past it to fondly remember the short lived 80's pop-culture icon, The Noid has found a small fan base in the present day.
Kenneth Noid was a deeply disturbed individual who could not overcome his issues in the end.
I wish to share my deepest condolences to Kenneth Noid's family.