ADVERTISING: Pizza Hut fattens up on Euro ad strategy

If the success of Pizza Hut’s first pan-European commercial is anything to go by, parent company Pepsi-Cola International is likely to take further steps down this route in the future.

If the success of Pizza Hut’s first pan-European commercial is anything

to go by, parent company Pepsi-Cola International is likely to take

further steps down this route in the future.

Figures released exclusively to Marketing show that Pizza Hut has

managed to turn around its performance in the European market from a 5%

decline into a mean average growth of 30% since its ad launch earlier

this year.

PepsiCo says a major contributory factor in the brand’s revival has been

its ad campaign, starring supermodels Cindy Crawford and Linda

Evangelista, and its new product - the Stuffed Crust pizza.

The ad, which has been on air since the spring, has cost PepsiCo over

pounds 13m to produce and screen across 32 countries.

This figure represents just over half of Pizza Hut’s total advertising

costs for the region and has demonstrated to PepsiCo the value of a

single campaign for a single message.

Up the crust

While the ad, which shows the two models jesting in a Pizza Hut

restaurant whilst eating the new Stuffed Crust pizza, is unlikely to win

any creative awards, it fitted PepsiCo’s brief to relaunch the brand in

Europe and at the same time announce the arrival of a new product.

‘We were in a tough situation in Europe. Margins were under pressure and

we were really only marketing ourselves tactically,’ says Todd Martin,

vice-president of marketing for PepsiCo Restaurants International.

‘In the UK, our restaurants were looking tired, while in Europe they

were brand new but no one was going into them. Europeans had this idea

that we were just another American fast-food chain’.

In October last year, Martin and his agency Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO,

equipped with a pounds 750,000 budget, began their search for an

appropriate celebrity to convey the brand personalities of Pizza Hut to

the target market of 20- to 30-year-old Europeans.

Rock stars, movie stars and sportsmen were all turned down as too

expensive. At pounds 350,000 a piece Crawford and Evangelista were

considered a bargain. They also fitted the bill for the brand.

‘We wanted to get across the message that Pizza Hut has a young

personality. That it is about eating great quality pizzas in a relaxed

environment,’ says Martin.

The ad also had to deliver some ‘major pizza news’ to the consumer. A

new product, the Stuffed Crust pizza, generated the news angle and is

integral to the ad.

The roll-out of the ad across Europe began in earnest in April. More

mature markets with larger advertising budgets, such as the UK and

Spain, had local executions. Stuffed Crust was introduced into the UK

last year, and ads starring, among others, Martin Clunes and Damon Hill,

went on air last autumn. The ‘Supermodels’ ad will be given more air

time in the UK this month as the local ads are gradually phased out.

Pooling resources

But, as Martin argues, the cost of locally produced ads in every country

would have been too prohibitive. Instead, each of the countries pooled

their advertising budgets to bankroll the ad blitz.

So far, the campaign has reaped dividends on a number of counts.

Footfall has increased, sales have risen, and the perception of the

brand has changed. The success of this dual-purpose campaign is

emphasised by the fact that the roll-out of the ad was not supported by

any promotional activity.

The risk has paid off for Martin and Pizza Hut’s special task-force.

‘The prize is big but so are the pitfalls,’ says Martin. ‘You get a

global ad wrong, then you lose the whole lot. A bad ad is likely to be a

bad ad everywhere. And that is disastrous.’


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