- Pizza Hut and Yahoo partnered for two similar campaigns around the Super Bowl and the NCAA March Madness men’s basketball tournament based on a digital version of pick ‘em games often played by fans during those events and the results are in, per news made available to Marketing Dive. Combined, the two promotions contributed to the three largest digital transaction days for Pizza Hut.
- The Super Bowl game was based on Squares Pick ‘Em and run on Yahoo Sports, and fans spent more than 9 million minutes playing the game with 70% accessing the game via a mobile device. Based on the success, Pizza Hut ran a version during March Madness called Tourney Pick ‘Em, its version of the popular brackets filled out by college hoops fans.
- The March Madness campaign also included display ads on the Yahoo homepage and Yahoo Sports as well as additional native, display, search and email advertising.
As fun as the digital pick ‘em games might have been for fans, the promotion wasn’t the most unique campaign Pizza Hut ran during March Madness. That title would have to go to its “Pie Top” limited edition basketball sneakers that allowed the wearer to order a pizza simply by touching a button on the tongue of the right shoe.
One key similarity between the two efforts was an element of fun, even though the Yahoo game was participatory and the blue-tooth activated shoes were conceptual for almost everyone. Both also tapped into the passion of sports fans. Speaking specifically about the two pick ‘em games in the Yahoo case study, Courtney McKlveen, VP and industry lead, Retail, Travel and QSR at Yahoo, said they were ways for Pizza Hut to establish “fun, authentic connections” with passionate sports fans.
Beyond the opportunity for brands to create authentic engagements, Pizza Hut's sports strategy this year points to the growing importance of digital channels for driving ordering and how savvy marketers are blurring the lines between content and commerce. Last fall, Pizza Hut named its first chief customer officer with the goal of treating the online and offline experience as a whole. In May, Pizza Hut updated its mobile application and website to provide customers with text-message status reports on their delivery orders.