Todd Martin * Vice-president marketing * Pizza Hut

Todd Martin * Vice-president marketing * Pizza Hut

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s Todd Martin, Pizza Man, the

marketer who gave Europe the stuffed crust pizza, the ‘Supermodels’ TV

campaign and reversed the fortunes of his brand.

Martin, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Clark Kent, loves pizza,

loves marketing pizza and, as a one-hour interview proves, loves talking

about pizza. Now he is to sing its praises to the whole world.

The 41-year-old American has been handed the new role of vice-president

of marketing for Pizza Hut International, and will seek to take pizza

where no man has taken pizza before.

PepsiCo Restaurants International has put its faith in Martin after he

successfully executed a pan-European marketing strategy which culminated

in the stuffed crust pizza ad with Cindy Crawford and Linda Evangelista.

His marketing strategy turned a 5% decline into an average growth rate

of 30%, and now PRI wants Martin to perform similar feats around the


The next move in Pizza Hut’s global campaign will be an ad starring

Pamela Anderson, to be screened in the UK in February. So, having done

commercials that featured three of the world’s most desirable women,

what subject is Martin most keen to talk about?

Yes, it’s pizza: ‘I always felt it was an unexploited property. In the

interview for the job I said ‘You’ve got really good pizza but

everything else is deadly dull and marketing is non-existent’. When I

got the job I discovered that marketing did exist but involved money-off

coupons and leaflet drops.’

To turn around Pizza Hut’s fortunes he commissioned research and

discovered that while there were many minor differences, a couple of

things were the same for every country. ‘We had the best pizza in pan

pizza and the best new product in stuffed crust and we beat local

competition every time, but we were perceived as boring,’ he says.

Martin sums up the strategy he developed as ‘famous pizzas, famous

personalities and fun’. ‘Supermodels’ was the first incarnation of that


If Pizza Hut’s ad agency, Abbott Mead Vickers, made the type of ads that

feature happy families in a cosy restaurant, Martin wouldn’t look out of

place as the dad (in fact, he has two young children).

Despite his Clark Kent looks, Martin admits he is no Superman. Unlike

many Profile subjects he doesn’t dodge the ‘what was your biggest

mistake’ question and admits his attempt to reposition a low-calorie

cheese in Belgium while at Kraft was a disaster. ‘We talked ourselves

into a message that we thought the consumer would find relevant and then

we talked ourselves into thinking our marketing would be noticed - and

the message was not relevant and the marketing was not noticed,’ he


Martin is well-liked and colleagues describe him as ‘decent’, ‘bright’

and ‘positive’. He is, however, extremely intense and takes pizza very

seriously. But then, when you’re looking after a global budget and fork

out dollars 1m (pounds 641,000) for 30 seconds of airtime, it’s a

serious business.

Martin has achieved something few can boast: a European campaign that is

neither bland and meaningless, nor hideously over-dubbed. Michael Baulk,

chief executive of AMV, says: ‘He really believes in the power of

advertising. He doesn’t go for the lowest common denominator, he reaches

for really fresh ideas.’

Martin has a simple philosophy for an international campaign: ‘Find

something so compelling that you’ll be forgiven for the executional

variances from local tastes.’

Martin is a Yank who doesn’t think the world revolves around the US.

This can be attributed to a childhood spent traipsing from country to

country with his father, who worked for the US State Department. He has

been based in London but in his new role will return to the US.

‘He’s broad minded and easily understands the themes and issues of

international marketing,’ says Baulk. Martin acknowledges he is

‘receptive to differences in cultures’.

In a less guarded moment he does admit he fights against becoming ‘work

obsessed’. But his rationale for his ever-decreasing spare time is that

he is having fun - and working with the likes of Cindy Crawford, Pamela

Anderson and a lovely plate of pizza obviously has its attractions.





Vice-president marketing and business development, Kraft General Foods


Managing director, Kraft General Foods Benelux

Senior project manager, Kraft 


Vice-president marketing, Pizza Hut North America

1995-Dec 1996

Vice-president marketing, PepsiCo Restaurants 

International Europe



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