Pizza Hut wraps March Madness with a 360-degree quest for pizza-ordering shoes

Pizza Hut is giving away the last four pairs of its Pie Tops to coincide with college basketball's Final Four.

While some may argue the Gamecocks of the University of South Carolina are the Cinderella of 2017 college basketball, QSR Pizza Hut is inadvertently taking the sports analogy one step further by inviting consumers to find a pair of lost shoes – in a contest that ends at the stroke of midnight, no less.

That’s right: Pizza Hut partnered with immersive marketing agency Gigapixel Imaging to create the Pizza Hut Pie Tops Hunt, a 360-degree panoramic quest for swag hidden throughout Final Four venue Phoenix Stadium that will give fans a chance to win the final four pairs of pizza-ordering Pie Tops, just in time for college basketball’s 2017 finale.

According to a rep, Pizza Hut worked with custom shoe designer the Shoe Surgeon to commission 64 pairs of Pie Tops. To date, pairs have been given to influencers and super fans, so the Hunt marks the first time they are available to Average Joes and Janes.

The rep said she could not disclose the number of pizzas ordered to date with Pie Tops because the orders are filtered through Pizza Hut’s standard ordering system.

The Pie Tops Hunt will run on for a single day and, like Cinderella’s first night with Prince Charming, end at midnight on April 3, which also happens to be the day South Carolina or Gonzaga plays Oregon or North Carolina in the championship game, marking the end of March Madness.

On April 3, participants who go to the Pie Tops Hunt website will see a 360-degree panoramic view of Phoenix Stadium. Throughout the image, Pizza Hut says it has hidden a pair of Pie Tops, an Amazon Echo and a Pizza Hut gift card. Consumers can scroll across and zoom in and out of the panoramic stadium image to find the hidden items. Once they spot an item and click on it, they will be prompted to share contact information to enter the giveaway. In addition to four pairs of Pie Tops, prizes include 10 Amazon Echos and 30 Pizza Hut gift cards. The rep said winners will be selected randomly from those who find an item and enter to win that item, noting those who find all three will be able to enter their information three times and become eligible for all three prizes, but each winner will receive only one prize.

The brand has also partnered with so-called Pizza Hut All-American Jason Zone Fisher, which, yes, is apparently his real name, “as he celebrates the Final Four match-ups”.

According to Pizza Hut, its All-American program “[provides] one fan the opportunity to attend every [Division I] national championship.” Fisher was dubbed the Pizza Hut All-American in November. Per his website, Fisher is “a storyteller, an adventure seeker, a sports fanatic, a BBQ [connoisseur], a pizza bagel, a political junkie, and a man on a mission.”

Fans can follow him on Instagram and Twitter at @PHAllAmerican, where he has about 2800 and 5000 followers, respectively.

Starting March 30, Pizza Hut said Fisher will give “a select number of the Pie Tops” to fans in Phoenix and “those following his journey” on Instagram and Twitter, where he will be promoting the contest. In addition, the rep said Pizza Hut will amplify the consumer giveaway news across brand social channels with paid support for extended reach.

Pie Tops are what Pizza Hut calls a custom-designed, first-of-its-kind basketball shoe that can order pizza for delivery at the press of a button thanks to a smart button inside the shoe tongue. The button connects to the user’s phone and the Pie Tops app, allowing the user to instantly submit a pizza order.

“We had a feeling that people would get excited about getting their pizza at a press of a button and we were blown away by the response the Pie Tops created,” said David Daniels, vice president of media and advertising, in a statement. “Final Four weekend is the perfect time to give fans a chance to take their digital ordering experience to the next level – whether they’re watching the games at home or are lucky enough to be there in-person.”

Pizza Hut is giving away an Amazon Echo to highlight another easy order option – its Alexa skill debuted December 15. And to further encourage use of this voice skill, Pizza Hut said orders placed via Alexa from April 1 to 3 will receive 40% off the total.

Pizza Hut announced its multi-year partnership to become the Official Pizza of the NCAA in 2016.

Get The Drum Newsletter

Build your marketing knowledge by choosing from daily news bulletins or a weekly special.