- Pizza Hut tested "Underground Deliveries" in New York City as part of a campaign around the Aug. 2 release of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem," per a press release shared with Marketing Dive. Select consumers who texted a turtle emoji to a hotline were able to order pizza delivery to a Pizza Drop Zone within a subway station.
- The campaign spans TV, digital, social, experiential and in-restaurant elements. Specialty movie-themed pizza boxes feature character illustrations and a QR code that leads to a mobile augmented reality (AR) game
- In addition to a co-branded TV spot, Pizza Hut will feature in several scenes as part of an in-movie integration. The campaign, which revolves around the Ninja Turtles' subterranean home and love of pizza, is aimed at both new and old fans of the characters.
Pizza Hut is going all-in on its partnership with an iconic media franchise in the run-up to the Aug. 2 release of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem," the seventh theatrical film starring the characters. The chain's relationship with "TMNT" dates back to the first period of Turtlemania, when it spent more than $20 million on a promotional effort that included an album and touring musical.
"Pizza Hut and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have a longstanding history that goes back to the ‘90s. Bringing the two together again for a new generation was a no brainer," said Pizza Hut CMO Lindsay Morgan, in a statement. "With this new collaboration, we wanted to pay homage to the Turtles’ origins and their love of pizza, while also infusing modern touchpoints and a fun, creative take on pizza deliveries — in real life and through augmented reality gaming."
In a nod to the Turtles' subterranean lair, Pizza Hut toyed with underground deliveries to New York City subway stations that were ordered by texting a turtle emoji to a special hotline. Though this appears to be part of the campaign and not a larger initiative, pizza delivery to non-traditional locations via mobile means has been a point of competition, as Domino's just-announced Pinpoint Delivery technology.
Pizza Hut will also release an AR game as part of another mobile activation. In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Pizza Power, players are delivery drivers tasked with finding the four Turtles under virtual manhole covers, fighting mutants and delivering pizza for the chance to win movie tickets and free pizza for a year. The game is available online and via a QR code on specialty movie-themed pizza boxes — a tactic the chain has used before.
The collaboration will span several channels, with the Turtles appearing in a co-branded TV spot that will air starting June 26 in six-, 15- and 30-second versions and the brand making a cameo in the film. The effort is part of a partnership with Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon Movies and Point Grey Production.
Pizza Hut is the latest QSR chain to tie-up with a film focused on iconic characters popular with kids of all ages. Shake Shack this year teamed up with “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” for a restaurant experience and wider national promotion.
Parent company Yum Brands in Q1 2023 saw worldwide system sales grow 11%, with Pizza Hut growing 10%, but aggressive pricing promotions ate into the company's profits. The pizza chain's latest campaign could be a way for the brand to bring value to consumers in a variety of ways without making pricing the main focus.