In its first year as the ‘Official Pizza Sponsor’ of the NFL – taking over for the beleaguered Papa John’s – Pizza Hut is going positive, with an upbeat ‘Game Plan’ campaign featuring Pittsburgh Steelers star receiver Antonio Brown and his teammate Juju Smith-Schuster.
In the leadup to the new season, Pizza Hut is introducing a lineup of new experiences, exclusive pizza deals and star-studded partnerships designed to bring the energy of the stadium to fans’ homes on gameday.
“Pizza has the power to bring sports fans together, and for years, Pizza Hut has served as a gameday centerpiece in living rooms across the country. Now, as the Official Pizza Sponsor of the NFL, we’re going to celebrate football fans all season long,” said Marianne Radley, chief brand officer, Pizza Hut, US. “We look forward to kicking off the season with our new league and team partners to deliver fans incredible in-home experiences and quality pizza each gameday.”
In a series of videos, as part of its first national NFL TV campaign, the wide receiver duo of Brown and Smith-Schuster finds the two pairing up to eat pizza and give fans tips on how to enjoy game day. In one, Brown teaches Schuster-Smith his signature end zone dance. In another, a Steelers fan family eats pizza and watches Brown score a touchdown. The daughter gets excited, ripping apart a pizza box as Brown appears to see through the TV screen. A third sees the two receivers at someone’s home eating pizza when they look at each other and realize they are on the wrong sides of the couch, so they switch formation and continue their fandom.
“We are thrilled to kick off our first season with Pizza Hut as the official pizza of the National Football League,” said Renie Anderson, senior vice president, NFL partnerships, sponsorship & consumer products. “As we saw with their awesome ‘Doorbell Dance’ for the Draft, Pizza Hut has really creative and engaging ways of activating around our brand and fans – and pizza lovers – everywhere should be excited for what they have planned for this NFL season.”
Since becoming the Official Pizza Sponsor of the NFL, Pizza Hut has aligned with some of the most passionate fan bases in the league through local partnerships with the Seattle Seahawks, Pittsburgh Steelers, Los Angeles Chargers and Los Angeles Rams. These partnerships will come to life for fans throughout the season through local activations, player partnerships, social impact initiatives and more.
Pizza Hut has also developed a new digital platform within Hut Rewards called Game Plan that allows fans to access special deals, receive kickoff reminders for their favorite NFL team and enter to win a different football-themed prize every week.
In addition, Pizza Hut has unveiled its new packaging for the NFL season featuring collective use of all 32 NFL team marks. The special-edition ‘Hut, Hut, Hut’ pizza boxes will be available in all Pizza Hut locations during regular season. To bring it one step further, the brand introduced the Beanbag Blitz app, a recreation of the classic tailgate game cornhole which is compatible with the limited-edition NFL pizza boxes via Augmented Reality technology.
“We tapped into technology to deliver a truly immersive gameday experience to fans – specifically combining what they’re most passionate about: their team, the spirit of competition, and of course, pizza,” said Zipporah Allen, chief marketing officer, Pizza Hut, US. “Incorporating this AR component into our lineup of new experiences is broadening our digital portfolio and engaging fans in a completely new way.”