Photo: chego101, Flickr
Pizza Hut, along with countless other fast-food outlets, has marketed its product not just with images of oozing mozzarella and sizzling chicken wings but with a promise of value. Now Nation's Restaurant News reports that, in a move that may seem counter-intuitive given the current economic climate, the company is switching gears. Rather than focusing on price points or new offerings, Pizza Hut is spotlighting actual employees, putting the emphasis on the diner's in-house experience. Looked at from a larger perspective, the move is a rebranding.
The new tagline, "Your Favorites. Your Pizza Hut," which replaces "America's Favorite Pizza," debuted last Sunday during NFL programming, and it's a potent phrase, Ted Marzilli, senior vice president of New York-based YouGov BrandIndex, told Restaurant News. "By saying 'your favorites, your Pizza Hut,' it's a way for them to hold on to saying that they serve America's favorite pizza and that now you can get it your way. Trying to combine the mass appeal across the country with the individualization that person can have is a potentially powerful message."
The ad spots feature real employees talking about their own favorite menu items and their (positive) experiences with customers. Some jaded viewers have already noted that these employees are also, invariably, "cuties." As the folks at AdRants point out, "Much like McDonald's used to do, Pizza Hut...is bringing out its fresh-faced talent to front the new campaign" -- and it's a significant departure from some of the sexy celebrity-based ad campaigns the company had put out in the recent past.
Meanwhile, Pizza Hut's major competitor, Domino's, has scored big with its new "Oh Yes We Did" campaign, which also highlights employees speaking directly to the consumer -- and increasing sales in the process. The Domino's campaign, however, was accompanied by a reformulation of its recipes. Whether Pizza Hut's rebranding can pull off a similar sales bonanza remains to be seen.