- Pizza Hut launched its first limited-edition capsule collection, dubbed Pizza Hut Tastewear, per details emailed to Marketing Dive.
- The clothing and merchandise is inspired by the chain's iconic brand elements, including its red roof, checkered tablecloths and Tiffany-style lamps. The collection includes a tracksuit, T-shirt, sandals, pizza-shaped jewelry and red plastic cups.
- Available at pizzahutshop.com, the Tastewear collection is part of Pizza Hut's "Newstalgia" campaign that launched earlier this year. Several of the items first appeared in campaign spots featuring comedic actor Craig Robinson.
Pizza Hut continues to deliver "Newstalgia" with its Tastewear capsule collection, reimagining the brand's iconography with a modern twist for contemporary consumers. The collection sees the restaurant chain tapping into interest around nostalgia and branded merchandise, some of which first appeared in ubiquitous TV spots starring Craig Robinson in a "man cave" designed to resemble a 1980s Pizza Hut.
"We've been trying to bring those classic elements to life in a new way, so if you're somebody who has ... fond memories of the brand, you get it, and if you're a younger person, you still think it's cool, even if you didn't have those experiences," CMO Lindsay Morgan told Marketing Dive.
Branded merchandise has become a tried-and-true tactic for marketers looking to be a part of culture and forge deeper connections with consumers; Pizza Hut's corporate siblings, Taco Bell and KFC, have used merch for years as part of brand-building efforts. By using a separate e-commerce site to sell the merchandise, Pizza Hut can leverage interest in a sales channel that has surged during the pandemic.
"There's more and more people flocking to those digital channels … over the last 18 months, where people were a little slower to adopt some of those digital-forward habits," Morgan said. "We're seeing people get digitally savvier a lot faster than we've ever seen in the past."
The "Newstalgia" campaign launched earlier this year and included limited-edition pizza boxes that featured QR codes linked to an augmented reality (AR) version of the classic arcade game Pac-Man. The brand also launched a T-shirt drop inspired by its Book It! reading program, quickly selling out 1,000 shirts, followed by a 5,000-shirt run afterward. Morgan said fans can expect more Book It!-themed experiences in the future.
Pizza Hut named Morgan CMO in April after former CMO George Felix departed for Tinder — the brand's second shakeup of its marketing department in just over a year. However, Pizza Hut might be returning to more stable ground as the effects of the pandemic recede and consumers increasingly return to pre-pandemic activities like on-premise dining. Pizza Hut's U.S. division saw 8% same-store sales growth on a two-year basis, per an April earnings report cited by CNBC, and Morgan said the brand will seek to build on those gains with fresh marketing efforts.
"We had a really strong first half, and we're excited to keep the momentum and the pedal on the gas for the second half," she said. "The ["Newstalgia"] strategy is here to stay … We're planning on bringing in some of our other classic elements in other big ways for customers."