The first work for Pizza Hut from Droga5 is out today, after the agency won the business from Deutsch in a review earlier this year. The campaign, "No One Out Pizzas the Hut," features "bragspeople" who laud the chain’s offerings because Pizza Hut is too humble to do it on its own.
In one spot, a homesick green alien extols the virtues of the human species, with its "strong bones," as well as planet Earth, which lacks oceans of lava. In another, a survivor of a near death experience in a full body cast uses his second chance to live life to the fullest. Both spots feature Pizza Hut’s new grilled cheese stuffed crust pizza.
Droga5 won the pitch in May using the new tagline, according to the agency's chief creative officer, Ted Royer. "One thing we agreed on was that we didn’t want a line that just sold the category of pizza," he said. "We wanted a line that would be just for Pizza Hut," framing the restaurant as "a champion for pizza and the whole pizza eating experience." The agency went into the pitch without much background in the restaurant category. While that could have been a setback, Royer said the fresh perspective was a boon.
Though Pizza Hut is still the biggest player in the category, flat sales triggered a string of agency switches – McGarryBowen in 2013 to Deutsch in 2014 and now Droga5, so all sides are keeping in mind the short-lived nature of Pizza Hut’s recent agency relationships. Droga5 "introduced work that we felt was appropriate for the brand and the category," said David Timm, Pizza Hut’s CMO. "We felt they would be a good culture fit and long-term partner for us."
Royer echoed the desire for a lasting commitment. "Nobody wants to work for a year and then part ways."
In addition to the two spots out today, several other "bragspeople" ads are planned for the remainder of the year. The next spot, likely breaking in October, will feature a conspiracy theorist. But even after "bragspeople" runs its course, the "No One Out Pizzas the Hut" platform will continue.
In order to fend off what Royer calls the "technology gimmicks" of a competitor, future work will focus on important facets of the pizza experience, like delivery or answering the door.
The campaign also seeks to bring out the personality of Pizza Hut itself. "It really is a humble, Midwestern company," said Group Creative Director Scott Bell. "They still cling pretty tightly to their Midwestern roots, and they don’t like to be too boastful or brag." Employees in the spots are generically good-natured and very normal, a contrast to the oversized personalities of the "bragspeople."
The grilled cheese stuffed crust pizza is the latest in the chain’s long line of gluten-encased foodstuffs. Previous fillings include hot dogs, garlic knots and tater tots. The menu item first debuted in 1995, pitched by Donald Trump himself, starring in an ad from BBDO New York (along with ex-wife Ivanka) that lampooned their messy divorce three years prior.
But the campaign will also focus on Pizza Hut’s other, more traditional offerings. "They definitely have a lot of equity in stuffed crust," Bell said. "It’s something they’re proud of that they invented, but they also have really great pepperoni pizza. I think the true test of any pizza place is how they handle the basic pepperoni pizza."