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
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.
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.’