Jun 20, 2009

Pizza the Hutt

With a significant decline in sales, Pizza Hut has decided that its branding is what is keeping people away from their terrible slimy pizza. Obviously the newly branded ‘The Hut’ will make you eat their food again. Right?

More folks are eating at home and starting to avoid 'junk' food to save money and their health. The largest player in the pizza junk food is trying to win back pizza fans with a new image and menu items like all-natural multigrain pizza, lasagna, and wings. But they're doing it by re-branding rather than... lasagna? Who in their right mind is buying lasagna from Pizza Hut?

There's a big trend in general around having confidence in the foods that you eat. People over the age of 35, whose frequency with pizza is declining, said one of the big things that would reignite their passion with the category is to have a pizza made with multigrain crust and an all natural tomato sauce...

Design is a great way to create an emotional expression for your brand. But the pizza category has been a real laggard in doing that. Our red box is a game changer in packaging and design. And yes, we're also introducing another vocabulary word with Pizza Hut, which is 'The Hut.' That ties in nicely with (today's) texting generation. We wanted to make sure that Pizza Hut and 'The Hut' become common vernacular for our brand. Red is our mark and when you see that red roof, people will refer to it as 'The Hut' or 'Pizza Hut.' As we expand our online and mobile businesses, 'The Hut' is the perfect icon for our mobile generation.

- Brian Niccol, Pizza Hut CMO on BrandWeek

What I'm reading here - and feel free to correct me - is that some marketing guru told Pizza Hut executives that Hut is easier to type on Twitter or Facebook. And that's why Pizza Hut has been losing customers and market share? Yeah, that's how I read it.

While 'The Hut' branded pizza boxes are already in use and several restaurants have already been converted, it has not been decided whether Pizza Hut will be rebranding all of its restaurants.
We think that 'The Hut' is to Pizza Hut as Coke is to Coca-Cola. We have begun using the term in conjunction with Pizza Hut in our advertising, pizza boxes and some restaurants.

- Christopher Fuller, Pizza Hut spokesman on WalletPop
Nice box. Full of red dyes and probably can't be recycled. Yeah, that's a good way to attract new 'green' customers. I guess there aren't a whole lot of ClimateFaithers eating Pizza Hut anyway?

The newly converted 'The Hut' restaurants have been seen popping up across the United States, including this one spotted in Florida:

They've included the old 'red roof' in their graphic. It's a hold over from the last rebranding effort - and it represnts the iconic buildings from two generations ago. How does that make sense? If they're so intent on attracting the new texting demographic, why would your logo represent a building that no longer exists, and hasn't since those kids were born?

Pizza Hut spokesman Chris Fuller has said that 'The Hut' is just a marketing effort and not a permanent name change. MSN reports: "The boxes and some store signs will say 'The Hut.' Others will retain the Pizza Hut name." In related news, Pizza Hut is launching Hut TV, an in-store video network which will allow customers to watch TV show... yeah, that will get me back into their store.

Try cleaning the place and turning OFF the TV... oh, and work on the pizza, not the branding. That might help.

Or - go the opposite direction. If you're trying to get the over 35 crowd: Go all-out Retro. Build red roofed buildings again. Don't install air conditioning. Only hire one waiter/waitress. Put Atari cocktail games as half the tables, pitchers of watered down Pepsi in sticky booths on even stickier checkerboard table cloths. Sponsor some little league teams and women's volleyball, and make them eat at the restaurant on off nights.

1 comment:

Chewy said...

Pizza the Hutt was a joke, and now it's all they got left?

Go away like Blockbuster.