Advertising Age reported on the desperate moves Pizza Hut is making to turn around its sinking sales. In addition to 10 new crusts, six new sauces, 11 specialty pizzas, an overhauled website, new logo and fresh uniforms for employees, Pizza Hut handed its account to a new White advertising agency last summer—and Deutsch landed the billings sans a review! So while the fast feeder is undergoing a radical evolution, it’s business as usual on the marketing front, with Corporate Cultural Collusion baked into every pie. Meanwhile, minority agencies can expect to slice up any remaining crumbs on the kitchen floor. Bon appétit!
Cock-A-Doodle Bacon Pizza, Anyone? Pizza Hut Launches Biggest Menu Overhaul Yet
Ailing Chain Launches 10 New Crusts, Six New Sauces and 11 Specialty Pizzas
By Maureen Morrison
Your choices at Pizza Hut are about to go way beyond the Pepperoni Lovers pizza.
The chain is rolling out what it calls its biggest brand evolution ever, adding 10 crust flavors, four “flavor-packed drizzles,” 11 specialty recipes, six different sauces and Skinny Slice Pizzas to its menu.
The company is also overhauling its website, launching a new logo, packaging and even employee uniforms. The new products will be available Nov. 19 nationally, and the chain is expected to launch the biggest campaign in its history around the same time. It did not provide additional details, though the campaign will be called “Flavor of Now.”
New crust flavors include Honey Sriracha and Salted Pretzel, as well as others with odd titles like Get Curried Away and Ginger Boom Boom. Sauces include Premium Crushed Tomato and Buffalo. New “premium” ingredients include salami, fresh spinach and peruvian cherry peppers. Drizzles include balsamic.
The Skinny Slice Pizzas, made from a thinner version of Pizza Hut’s Hand-Tossed Crust, will all be 250 calories or less per slice. There are five options, including the Skinny Club, which includes creamy garlic parmesan sauce, ham, diced Roma tomatoes and spinach with a toasted Asiago crust flavor.
The new specialty pizzas mostly have pun-filled or otherwise wordy names, such as Giddy-Up BBQ Chicken, Buffalo State of Mind, Old-Fashioned Meatbrawl and Cock-A-Doodle Bacon.
The move comes as Pizza Hut is struggling to boost sales amid a protracted decline. It has logged eight consecutive quarters of comparable sales declines, while Yum Brands sibling company Taco Bell has been reporting positive results.
In a surprise move this summer, Pizza Hut moved its account from McGarryBowen to Interpublic’s Deutsch without a review.
The expanded line of products is just the latest change to its menu, as the chain looks to shift perceptions. It’s hoping consumers, particularly millennials, will view it as offering more sophisticated fare. U.S. CMO Carrie Walsh told Ad Age earlier this year that Pizza Hut is responding to research that found consumers are increasingly seeking gourmet, higher quality food with unconventional flavor combinations.
The company started in January with its hand-tossed pizza, touted as having a “lighter, airier crust, cheese blended with five Italian flavors and now brushed with garlic-buttery goodness.” It even included imperfections to give it an air of authenticity. Pizza Hut also introduced garlic-parmesan pizzas (a five-cheese and a chicken-bacon-tomato variety) and three barbecue pizzas promoted by country singer and TV personality Blake Shelton.
“Pizza Hut has been defining what’s possible with pizza since 1958 and our newest changes are the most significant we’ve made in our history as we once again look to take the entire category to another level,” said David Gibbs, CEO of Pizza Hut, in a statement. “We are radically reinventing the pizza category with a menu transformation that more than doubles our amount of ingredients and flavors, a world-class digital ordering experience and an entirely new look and feel to our brand, all the way down to our uniforms.”