The Creepy Story Of Domino's 'Avoid The Noid' Slogan

If you were near a TV or radio in the late 1980s, it was nearly impossible to "Avoid the Noid." The buck-toothed cartoon troll in a red rabbit suit was the mascot for Domino's Pizza, which launched a massively popular ad campaign promising pizza delivery within 30 minutes or less. The Noid, a play on the word "annoyed," resembled an impish gremlin trying to prevent delivery drivers from getting pizzas to customers on time. Domino's, however, was "Noid-Proof," and nothing could stop the company from getting your pizza to you on time, despite the Noid's most devious efforts. 

As annoying as some may have found The Noid, the irksome jester's antics were enough to keep Domino's Pizza on people's minds. According to Priceonomics, the campaign was a "smash success," and the Noid became a "household name." There were Noid toys, video games, t-shirts, and other merchandise. With all that success and popularity, where did the Noid go? 

In a strange twist of fate, the mascot known for making mischief inadvertently caused its own demise, in what Food & Wine called "the worst mascot public relations disaster in history."

The real-life Noid incident

For most people, the Noid was probably irritating, but it was supposed to be — that was the point of the Domino's ads. But one customer in particular felt that the Noid had been created by Domino's to mock him, specifically. 

In January of 1989, at the peak of the Noid's popularity, Kenneth Lamar Noid, then 22 years old, brought a gun into an Atlanta, Georgia Domino's. For several hours, two employees were forced to make pizza for their armed captor while he tried to negotiate with police surrounding the scene, reportedly demanding money and an obscure library book in exchange for their release. Thankfully, both employees were able to escape unharmed, and Kenneth Lamar Noid was apprehended and charged with kidnapping, aggravated assault, and theft by extortion.

According to UPI, experts described Lamar Noid as "acutely psychotic;" other reports describe him as schizophrenic. Sargent Mark Bender, an officer on the scene, told the Associated Press that Lamar Noid had "an ongoing feud in his mind with the owner of Domino's Pizza about the Noid commercials," feeling they were directed at him. A preliminary court hearing ruled that Lamar Noid was innocent by reason of insanity. The criminal charges were dropped, and he spent three months in a mental health institute obtaining treatment. 

Domino's Noid is no more

Domino's continued to employ the Noid following the incident but nixed the red-suited rascal in 1995, after Kenneth Lamar Noid died by suicide. While the pizzeria chain is still successful, no mascot or ad campaign has since reached the highs or lows of the Noid. 

Current Domino's ads promote the "Pizza Tracker," where customers can track the stages of their pizza preparation, no impish sabotage involved.

The Noid did make a brief reappearance back in 2021, when Domino's was testing its fleet of electric delivery vehicles. A press release from the company attributed some Instagram shenanigans to the Noid, calling him the company's ultimate "archnemesis" and "oldest and most famous villain," implying that electric cars are exactly the type of target the Noid favors. Despite the shout-out on social media (and releasing a "limited number" of commemorative Noid merch), the attempted resurrection of the Noid doesn't seem to have been successful.

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.