Pizza Hut just landed a new marketing plan thanks to Papa John’s and the NFL cutting ties. You might remember when former CEO John Schnatter blamed declining sales on NFL players taking one knee. In the wake of that scandal, there was a change in leadership and a change in marketing. Papa John’s has been the official pizza of the NFL since 2010, but CNBC reported Tuesday that current CEO Steve Ritchie has announced that the chain will be cutting ties (as part of a mutal agreement) with the NFL and focusing their marketing on 22 specific teams instead.
Just one day later, Pizza Hut, owned by Yum Brands, Inc., announced they would be filling the void with a four-year agreement. This marketing move will allow Pizza Hut benefits and marketing rights like using all 32 NFL team marks and leveraging game tickets or unique fan experiences in their marketing and promotional campaigns. The company announced their partnership with a video on Twitter (seen below) and Yum Brands! sent a congratulatory tweet.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Hut Hut. 🍕🏈 <a href=”https://t.co/XAdSLHw1OX”>pic.twitter.com/XAdSLHw1OX</a></p>— Pizza Hut (@pizzahut) <a href=”https://twitter.com/pizzahut/status/968855814957023232?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>February 28, 2018</a></blockquote>
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“Pizza Hut has a history of bringing more entertaining food and experiences to the pizza occasion and we plan to continue that through our exclusive partnership with the NFL,” said Artie Starrs, President, Pizza Hut U.S. in a press release. “NFL stadiums are packed every week but tens of millions of fans are also watching the game at home. We have an unmatched ability to bring those fans closer to the sport thanks to the power of our 7,500 restaurants and 150,000 football-crazed team members. The capacity for what’s possible is endless and that’s going to make this league partnership great fun for Pizza Hut, the NFL and everyone who loves pizza and football.”
Pizza Hut has also been making strides in technology. Their press release stated they’ve introduced a number of digital enhancements, including a Delivery Tracker that allows users to track their pizza from order to delivery, and exclusively receive updates via text message. In addition, Pizza Hut fans can take advantage of one-button reorder functionality, visible promise time, and voice ordering through a variety of devices.
More recently, Pizza Hut launched Hut Rewards, the only national pizza loyalty program that offers points for every dollar spent on food online. For delivery, the company developed a new algorithm that drastically improves the accuracy and reliability of deliveries, reimagined its delivery pouches to keep pizzas up to 15 degrees hotter and is currently the first pizza company piloting beer and wine delivery in the U.S. In January, Pizza Hut announced a plan to explore pizza delivery via self-driving vehicles.