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The Flavor of Now – Or Never?

Posted: February 9, 2015, 2:27 p.m.
by Annslee Wilson.

In November, Pizza Hut launched its first big rebrand of its 56-year existence. After two years of a steady decline in sales, Pizza Hut decided something needed to change . . . and fast. The Flavor of Now rebrand focuses on bold new flavors, healthier options and stuffed crusts. Squid and wasabi mayo drizzles, 250-calorie slices, and burger-stuffed crusts are a few of the touted menu options. After witnessing the recent rebound of sister-company Taco Bell, Pizza Hut took a leap and hired Deutsch L.A., the creative agency behind the success of the Taco Bell rebrand.

The brand devoted a year to researching what millennials want to eat. VP of Marketing Jared Drinkwater said they learned that the younger generation is “increasingly looking for flavor.” So Pizza Hut said, ask and you shall receive.

Photo provided by
Photo provided by

In addition to the new flavors, Pizza Hut has a new logo, humorous commercials, revamped social media efforts, and new uniforms for its employees with catchy phrases, including “Savor the Flavor” and “No one throws a sandwich party.” You may have also seen Pizza Hut’s Super Bowl commercial  earlier this month with Tony Romo making an appearance. Pizza Hut — 1, every other pizza commercial — 0.

But how successful will The Flavor of Now be? Let’s consider the following scenario:

It’s a Friday night, and you are driving to your friend’s house to blow off some steam from the workweek. The whole gang will be there, so you’re excited to catch up with everyone. You’re pulling into the subdivision, and your stomach lets out a loud growl. I really hope there will be food there. I’m starving. You pull up and go inside. Go figure, there’s no food here. So you take it upon yourself to call in some reinforcements. “Hey everyone, I’m going to order some pizzas. What kind does everyone want?” And in unison, you hear a collective response of the two most popular choices: cheese and pepperoni. Well that was simple. Forty-five minutes later, you enjoy your dinner of a classic American favorite.

You have most likely experienced something along these lines. While the nearly 2 billion combinations of flavors and toppings sound tempting, we Americans love our traditions. And when it comes to large get-togethers, who is going to order a honey-Sriracha-burger-stuffed-crust-with-extra-drizzle pizza? For the ease of the masses, it’s assumed that your choices are cheese or pepperoni.

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Kudos to Pizza Hut for giving pizza eaters health-conscious options. But when I crave pizza, it’s a go-big-or-go-home type of craving. Who knows, maybe a gluten-free, 250-calorie slice can satisfy those taste buds after a nice jog around the block.

Nonetheless, pizza joint rebrands have proven to be successful in the past. Remember back in 2009 when a video surfaced of Domino’s employees committing disturbing acts with cheese? Well, after some good PR and advertising, the company experienced a $23.6 million increase in sales the following quarter. Now that’s a success.

So Pizza Hut, bring on the flavor. And may the crust be ever in your favor.

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