Pizza Hut CMO: Culture-Focused Marketing Has Led to Sales Growth

April 26, 2018
Updated 2mo ago

By Brittany Terrell

As it prepares for its first season as the official pizza of the National Football League, Pizza Hut will launch a new series of promotions Thursday, the opening day of the 2018 NFL Draft.

"Our marketing is really focused on making sure that we're in culture," said Zipporah Allen, the pizza chain's chief marketing officer. "We want to be in the conversations that our consumers are in, and we want to have a conversation with consumers."

That conversation begins with the NFL Draft, which will be held in Arlington, Texas, from April 26 to 28. Pizza Hut will offer discounts for football fans and contests, including "Doorbell Dances," where customers can win tickets to NFL games by submitting videos of their best dance moves to celebrate the arrival of a Pizza Hut delivery.

The company has also designated the 78th pick of the draft as the "Pi Pick" because it is the 14th pick of the 3rd round, a reference to the value of the mathematical constant pi (3.14). The player taken with that draft pick will receive an unlimited supply of pizza for a year, and will host a pizza party for the city of the team that selects him.

Pizza Hut and the NFL announced their partnership after the league's deal with Papa John's Pizza was canceled in February. Papa John's founder and former chief executive John Schnatter blamed the league for a drop in pizza sales after players began protesting police brutality by kneeling during the National Anthem. Schnatter ripped the league for poor leadership in an earnings call last fall; the company later apologized if anyone found the comments "divisive."

Allen said in an interview with Cheddar on Thursday that Pizza Hut was trying to set a different tone from the beginning of its partnership.

"Pizza Hut is an inclusive brand," she said. "Pizza is a shareable food that people really connect over."

For full interview, click here.