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The Metrics of Pizza

Earlier this week, I came across an analysis of the top five American pizza brands in social media. True Social Metrics took a look at the Facebook activity of  Pizza Hut, Domino’sPapa John’s,  Little Ceasar’s and Papa Murphy’s to evaluate the effectiveness of the brands’ social media campaigns. Here is what they came up with.

These analytics require some explanation and so I’ll give you a brief rundown.

The conversation rate refers to the number of audience comments or replies per post and provides quantitative as well as qualitative data about the audience. The amplification rate refers to the rate at which your followers take your content and share it through their network. The applause rate is the number of likes per post.
These measurements provide unique statistics that indicate what your brand is doing well and where it can improve.

Pizza Hut nailed it, with consistency cross the board and should just keep on keeping on.

Curiously, Domino’s takes the lead in the applause rate. “Liking” a post is the least engaging thing a follower can do, and so one might consider that the applause rate may not be the greatest indication of effectiveness. If the goal is to maximize audience participation, is Domino’s is posting enough engaging material?

Don’t let the graphic deceive you, Little Ceasars‘ is doing well. The brand is consistent in all three categories; the numbers are just smaller. This makes sense, with 6x less fans than Pizza Hut.

According to the study, Papa John’s‘ activity is dangerous because they have many comments but few likes or shares. What would cause this?  A closer look…

Check out a previous post on Papa John’s for more info on this controversy.

Lastly, Papa Murphy’s is doing alright. It might not hurt for them, like Domino’s, to reach out to their fans by posting more engaging content.

I was totally enlightened by these social media metrics and glad to share them with you guys. I think the most important thing to take away from this analysis is that numbers mean very little if the context and meaning behind them are neglected. These metrics are a way to view your campaign comprehensively, but brands should not make the mistake of ignoring the content behind the numbers.

For more information about how to measure a brand’s social media effectiveness, I reccomend Occam’s Razor‘s “Best Social Media Metrics: Conversation, Amplification, Applause, Economic Value”.

NP 4/30

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Children’s Pizza Marketing

“Where a kid can be a kid”

I have never been to Chuck E. Cheese’s, and yet hearing this slogan evokes deep-rooted memories of a time in my life when I thought the colorful, fun-filled restaurant epitomized what it meant to be <10 years old. I pleaded with my parents countless times to go. Alas, they never even entertained the idea. And so, my childhood is marked by the scar of never truly experiencing the only place on earth “Where a kid can be a kid”.

Throughout the last few months, I have been analyzing pizza restaurants’ marketing, advertising, and communication strategies. The companies I have observed (Domino’s, Pizza Hut, Papa John’s, Little Caesar’s, Godfathers, and Goodman’s American Pie) are all lacking in one area: marketing aimed at children. According to Pizza Marketing Quarterly, there are five key elements for a successful kids marketing program for pizzerias. This is what stood out to me the most.

  • From supplying a coloring page menu, to offering a “kids cut” on children’s slices, to providing a kids meal option (a slice, a dessert, and a drink) are big hits for parents who are trying to avoid a fuss-free meal.
  • A separate kids’ space can be utilized for children to make noise and run around while they are waiting to eat. Some restaurants go as far as giving kids a piece of pizza dough to play with upon arrival.
  • Sponsoring a local sports team by hosting events, dinners, and fundraisers will bring parents to your restaurant and can help develop loyalty to your business.
  • Alami notes that employees “should engage children of all ages by looking them in the eye, talking to them and smiling, and know how to anticipate kids’ needs, such as extra napkins and plastic water cups with covers and straws for toddlers.”

And now I know why many restaurants choose not to market to kids. Besides being a less important demographic (kids don’t have purchasing power), children are a nightmare to serve and a nightmare to be around while your trying to eat dinner. It sounded to me like Morin was writing about ways to turn your restaurant into a sticky, loud, playground where parents can drop their kids off to be babysat while they enjoy a beer as far away as possible. What do you think? Am I just bitter about my adult-centered childhood or are you in agreement?

screaming children at restaurants

my kind of dining experience

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Goodman’s American Pie and Transparency

If you’ve read my previous posts you’ll know all about Domino’s radical marketing strategy called the “Oh Yes We Did” campaign. The strategy was groundbreaking for the industry. Imagine: a multi-national company being honest and transparent in their food products and marketing; it’s unheard of!

Way before Domino’s began to practice the novel concept [hint: sarcasm] of  “transparency”, odds are, your local independently owned pizza shop was doing it first. Take Goodman’s American Pie in my hometown of Ludlow, Vermont for example. Goodman’s American Pie is located less than a mile away from the well known ski resort, Okemo Mountain. On a typical Friday night in the winter “the wait” for a pizza can be up to two and a half hours as mountain-goers process into town from NY, NJ, MA, CONN, etc. This video was shot in the winter of 2011, on a Friday night, before the mayhem, and shows the everybody the pizza making process– from start to finish. How’s that for transparency?

This video is part two of a series called Behind The Bus, which you can take literally, because what separates the kitchen area from the dining area is a extended VW Bus. See the first video here.

Other things GAP does well: The small business has a fairly static website with basic information anyone would need to know to order and pick up a pizza. However, they have a very active Facebook  with new posts almost every day and over 800 “Likes”. They also have a Twitter (@woodfiredza), with fewer posts and fewer followers (about 130).

Mustache

The best part about Goodman’s American Pie’s marketing strategy: it’s unpretentious. The Facebook page is handled by the owners who post whatever they want: pizza promotions and events–yes, but also family photos, memes, Clint Eastwood pictures, mustaches, car photos–anything of interest. And customers eat it up! Unlike Domino’s “transparency” campaign, Goodman’s American Pie doesn’t have to pay through the roof (over 185.5 million dollars annually) trying to convince customers they run an honest business. Transparency is automatic for GAP, and that’s evident for anyone who follows their Facebook account.

Clint: Pizza is Good For the Soul

NP 04/16

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Pizza Hut Hut Hike

According to NRN Pizza Hut hit a single-day sales record on Superbowl Sunday this year with this commercial, compiled of  crowd sourced clips playing football. Using platforms like Facebook and Twitter, they asked fans to submit videos of themselves playing football and saying  “Hut Hut Hut” to appear in a spot during the Superbowl. They weren’t alone in soliciting user-generated content this football season. Companies like Pepsi, Doritos, and Lincoln also creatively crowdsourced for, what most would argue, the most important advertising day of the year in America.

What is it about crowdsourcing that is so effective? For those of you who are unfamiliar with the phenomena, here is a short video to get you up to speed.

Crowdsourcing in advertising embraces the idea that your customers are not only consumers, but producers as well. They are your target audience, but can also be used to perpetuate your brand identity among greater audiences. ” Such opportunities give consumers the illusion that they’re in the driver’s seat. But the real driver: Advertisers are trying to coax consumers into getting more involved with their brands” (USA Today).

This Pizza Hut commercial was very successful. Users submitted their footage online, voluntarily, with the desire to be in a national ad, maybe without realizing they would become a part of the Pizza Hut brand.

Crowdsourcing, in the case of this Pizza Hut Superbowl commercial, is utilizing “Plain Folks”, a technique that persuades people “by appealing to the common man” (ACME). Often times in advertising, companies spend a lot of time and money to make actors / scenes appear to be normal / typical and relatable to their target audience. The great thing about crowdsourcing for advertisements is that the people who submitted their own user generated videos are already in Pizza Hut’s target audience. Much less manipulation has to go into the production of the commercial this way, aside from choosing and compiling which videos they wish to use.

Crowdsourcing is a trend in advertising for a variety of industries. How long do you think it will be until it runs its course?

NP 3/26

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Eau de Pizza Hut

In December of 2012, Pizza Hut came out with a limited-edition perfume, which smells of “freshly baked, hand-tossed dough,” after joking about it on a Facebook post last August.

pizzahutperfume

The perfume was released to commemorate Pizza Hut Canada reaching 100,000 Facebook fans. Only 110 bottles were produced and shared the first 100 fans to send Pizza Hut Canada a message.

What started as a joke posted by Pizza Hut Canada’s Marketing firm to engage more consumers via Social Media, ended with the company, after much trial and error, creating a scent, Eau de Pizza Hut. Beverley D’Cruz, Marketing and Product Development Director of Pizza Hut Canada says: “What better way to celebrate our Facebook fans than by providing them with a way to enjoy the fresh smell of Pizza Hut pizza whenever they want!”

Eau de Pizza Hut is a perfect example of marketing/advertising in our 21st century media culture, demonstrating a major shift in the way that companies call attention to their products nowadays. This MASS MEDIA  to PERSONAL/PARTICIPATORY shift is evident and a major driving force in the way companies do marketing. Prior to social media platforms like MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter, campaigns were largely one way highways from the production studio to the masses, limiting customer interaction and participation greatly. With the rise of Web 2.0, everyone with Internet access is invited to the conversation.

As silly as the idea of  Eau de Pizza Hut seems to me, it was a successful way for Pizza Hut Canada to form a stronger relationship with it’s customers through Social Media. This perfume is a small way for Pizza Hut’s public to feel important and for this large multinational company to seem reachable.

pizza-hut-cologne-grease

NP 3/19

 

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A Pizza You Can’t Refuse

Godfathers Pizza
“Besides great-tasting pizza, we’ve got somethin’ else that those other wiseguys don’t. The Godfather. Not only does The Godfather make sure our pizzas are made just the way you like ’em, but he also adds an element of fun that the whole mob can enjoy.” – Godfathers Pizza

Godfathers Pizza is a large restaurant chain owned by Pillsbury and has over 600 locations in 39 states throughout the US. The company’s marketing campaign has remained largely unchanged since it’s founding in the 1970s, basing much of it’s image on the popular book-turned-film The Godfather (1972). From using the borrowed slogan, “A Pizza You Can’t Refuse”, to employing a knock off Don Corleone type actor full time for advertisements, to using the vernacular of a stereotypical New York mob guy throughout the website, I would say that Godfathers is laying it on a little thick. If you are unfamiliar with the famous line, take a quick look.

Now look at a Godfather’s ad from the 1980’s.

How cheesy can you get? (No pun intended).

Reviewing Godfather’s Pizza’s commercials and website had me thinking about ethics in marketing. The American Marketing Association has this to say about respect in their statement of ethics on their website.

             Respect – to acknowledge the basic human dignity of all stakeholders.  To this end, we will:

  • Value individual differences and avoid stereotyping customers or depicting demographic groups (e.g., gender, race, sexual orientation) in a negative or dehumanizing way.
  • Make every effort to understand and respectfully treat buyers, suppliers, intermediaries and distributors from all cultures.
  • Acknowledge the contributions of others, such as consultants, employees and coworkers, to marketing endeavors.

In an Op-Ed piece published on the New York Times in 2011, criticizing former Presidential candidate Herman Cain (previous CEO of Godfather’s Pizza), John Mariani talks about the ethnic stereotyping of Godfather’s Pizza. He wrote, Perhaps because Italian-Americans have generally integrated into society at large, it has become acceptable to mock them. Thus we have the “goombahs” of “The Sopranos” and the “guidos” of “Jersey Shore.” Mariani goes on to say that other assimilated immigrant groups have been spared such mockery.

I have to agree with Mariani on this one. Although Godfather Pizza’s long standing campaign seems to be effective, I think that it is in bad taste, escalating a stereotype on Italian Americans that should remain in the past. It seems to me that in America today it is okay to mock certain ethnic groups, but others are protected, especially from such blatant examples of ethnic stereotyping like Godfather’s Pizza.

What do you guys think? Is Godfather’s Pizza practicing good ethics in their marketing and advertising?

NP 3/12

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Little Caesar’s Gets Silly

The short 30 second clip begins at a serene lakeside park one sunny afternoon. A man is fishing and lands a big catch. He exclaims, “Woo! Fish!” Another man, enjoying lunch at a picnic table nearby, shares the joy. “Woo! Five Dollar Pizza!” And then a girl comes up raising above her head a bizarrely calm dachshund, “Woo! Dachshund!”. They woo back and forth, and so the three strangers exult in delight in the simple pleasures of life. A big fish can be exciting. So can a five dollar pizza. And so can a dachshund, I suppose.

In June of 2012, Little Caesars teamed up with ad agency Barton F. Graf 9000 and launched it’s first national ad campaign in over fifteen years. This fishing ad is what it came up with. It’s short, simple, sweet, and when it’s over, you sort of wonder of what you just watched. It’s random, funny, memorable, and consistent with the kind of marketing Little Caesars is known for.

Check out their X-Ray Vision ad from 1991.

NP 2/19

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