Why Papa John’s got spicy with its parody of an advertising icon
Papa John’s won the ‘New Product Launch’ category at The Drum Awards for Marketing 2021 with its ‘New Spice Guy’ campaign, which it created with W Communications. Here, the team explains the thinking behind this tongue-in-cheek work, playfully referencing one of the most-loved brand refreshes of recent years.
In summer 2020, the nation needed humour as much as it needed sunshine and hand sanitiser. Our objectives for this campaign were:
To launch a range of spicy new pizzas, all using a new yellow Amarillo chilli base instead of regular tomato pizza sauce
Bring a smile to the nation’s faces
Do it all during a national lockdown and the restrictions that it brings
Launch a campaign that speaks to our Gen-Z audience by tapping into cultural moments that they can relate to
We wanted to introduce our four new spicy pizzas with a strategy that captured attention and attracted new customers by doing something a bit different and working with influencers in a new way.
To land this message we decided to pay homage and parody one of the most famous spicy ad campaigns of recent decades… the Old Spice Guy!
So, we recruited the New Spice Guy – Luke Trottman. Being a recent contestant in Love Island and very active on social media, he was the perfect fit for our target genzennial audience. The fact that he is also charming and funny and looks like the Old Spice Guy was an added bonus!
The ad created a parody of the Old Spice ads with their suave and commanding central character given a British twist. As this is a new range of spicy pizzas, we birth a hero for this new fiery frontier: the New Spice Guy.
With a deliberate DIY approach, the parody features OTT sound effects and a dialogue that combines the New Spice Guy (Luke) with a god-like voiceover courtesy of British actor Colin McFarlane.
The result is a ‘Hollywood style’ advert reproduced in a dank studio in South London with cuts to the green-screen to highlight the dodgy budget production.
A cheap but comical knock-off of the original Old Spice.
The ad was shown on social media – Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok and Twitter; digital display; YouTube bumper ads; and PPC discovery ads.
The New Spice Guy himself posted the ad with many of his celebrity followers engaging and sharing, resulting in over 610k views. We created a suite of assets including social gifs and an interactive game so the campaign could be amplified further.
Key outcomes included:
Nominated for PR Week’s best campaign for July (coming second)
Over 20m YouTube impressions
19m YouTube views
Over 10m impressions across Facebook and Instagram
Over 18k link clicks from social media
43 Pieces of traditional media
7,941,219 media reach
25 pieces of organic social media coverage
This project was a winner at The Drum Awards for Marketing 2021. Find out which competitions in The Drum Awards are currently open and don’t forget to visit our new interactive calendar.