At the start of 2010, it was all about the dough at Pizza Hut. Pizza Hut knew that consumers were to looking for ways to stretch their dollars, and some held the perception that Pizza Hut was unaffordable. To change this perception and remind people why they love Pizza Hut, the company launched a category-defining pizza deal: any Pizza Hut pizza – any size, any crust, any topping – for just $10.
It was up to the public relations to team to launch the new $10 price point in a big way and sustain the momentum behind the deal to keep consumers coming back for more Pizza Hut pizza.
Public Relations Objectives
• Create awareness around the “$10 Any Pizza” deal
• Create sustained excitement and buzz around the “$10 Any Pizza” deal
Target Audience/Audience Analysis
The target audience for the “$10 Any Pizza” campaign was current and lapsed Pizza Hut consumers. Pizza Hut’s primary consumers are families and single males 25-34.
With 88 percent of mothers referring to themselves as household CFOs , Pizza Hut knew they needed to reach mom to target their family audience. Research showed that mom was cutting back on spending. In fact, an October 2009 study by the Marketing to Moms Coalition revealed that an overwhelming majority of moms (78 percent) cut back on household spending, and moms are sacrificing quality for value in everyday expenditures.
Males 25-34: The Eating Machines
Through internal research, Pizza Hut knew that value was also a key driver for mealtime decisions for its audience of young men – so much so that the company refers to this group as “eating machines.”
Pizza Hut focused on communicating the value message to motivate purchase. Once consumers tried Pizza Hut again, they would be reminded why they love Pizza Hut.
Launching with Mom
To capture mom, Pizza Hut knew it would be important to place stories with media authorities on deals. In fact, according to BabyCenter's 2009 "21st Century Mom™ Report", 79 percent of moms go online for product news and reviews, including deals.
Launching with Eating Machines
To entice eating machines, the timing was perfect to coincide with Pizza Hut’s busiest day of the year, Super Bowl Sunday. Pizza Hut could leverage media’s interest in its busiest day of the year to map back to the “$10 Any Pizza” deal message.
Sustaining News with Mom and Eating Machines
For sustained news, Facebook provided a medium to reach both audiences. Pizza Hut had the opportunity to leverage the brand’s 1 million+ Facebook fans, and attract new fans. According to a 2009 Retail Advertising and Marketing Association survey, women with children at home are 60 percent more likely to use Facebook than average adults. When it comes to the eating machines, 18 – 34-year-olds make up 54 percent of Facebook users, according to checkfacebook.com.
To achieve the objectives, strategies included:
• Use “deal” stories to re-engage lapsed families through moms
• Insert the “$10 Any Pizza” story into coverage about Pizza Hut on Super Bowl to re-engage lapsed eating machines
• Use a call to action to ignite social media engagement
• Leverage Pizza Hut’s existing social media community
Tactics included the following:
• To launch the “$10 Any Pizza” deal in January, the team conducted outreach to traditional and social media channels. To validate the value story and reach moms, emphasis was placed on deal/home economics bloggers.
• To leverage Super Bowl pizza-eating stories in early February, Pizza Hut’s media relations tactics included the following: a fun news release about the busiest day of the year, b-roll distribution of restaurants preparing for game day, and participation in an SMT about Super Bowl entertaining on a budget.
• To sustain news around the “$10 Any Pizza” deal, in April, Pizza Hut put the fate of the deal into the hands of consumers. Pizza Hut created a fun, political-themed campaign on Facebook asking consumers to vote to save the deal.
• To amplify news around the Facebook voting campaign, Pizza Hut used news about state primaries to generate media coverage. Pizza Hut sent its resident social media maven – Pizza Hut Tweetologist Alexa Robinson – on a nationwide tour to rally support. She visited six state capitols, engaged voters at city landmarks and made media appearances. Alexa shared her experiences with Pizza Hut fans and followers via Twitter and Facebook.
Results and Evaluation of Success
PR amplification of the “$10 Any Pizza” deal generated 1,250 stories and more than 106 million earned media impressions.
• More than 67 million impressions were generated at launch to ignite awareness:
o The value story generated nearly 28 million impressions, including coverage in The Orange County Register, WTVJ-TV NBC (Miami), Mommy Goggles, Mommies with Cents and Deal Seeking Mom.
o The Super Bowl story garnered more than 32 million impressions, including a segment during “CBS Sports Super Bowl Pregame Show.”* In addition, 70+ stories ran on news affiliates across the country, including WPIX-TV (New York), KTLA-TV (Los Angeles), KMBC-TV (Kansas City, MO) and WXYZ-TV (Detroit).
• Nearly 39 million impressions were generated after launch to created sustained buzz:
o More than 100,000 consumers voted on Facebook to keep the deal.
o Social media highlights include a 400 percent increase in impressions per conversation engagement on Facebook, more than 5 million impressions driven by Facebook and nearly 200,000 U.S.-based Facebook fans added.
o The campaign tour of six cities resulted in 440+ television and print placements. Highlights of media coverage included The Philadelphia Inquirer, coverage from the crowd outside of the “TODAY Show,” and television segments in Philadelphia, Little Rock, Des Moines and Columbia, SC.
*An integration with CBS was leveraged to help secure segment.