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How DiGiorno took a bigger slice of the social market

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By The Drum | Editorial

November 28, 2023 | 5 min read

DiGiorno and Reach Agency have won the Food and Drink Pharma category at The Drum Awards for Social Media. Here is the award-winning case study.

Here's is the award-winning activation.

Did you know that Americans eat nearly 350 slices of pizza per second? And, 90% purchase pizza from ‘Delivery Giants’ like Domino’s and Pizza Hut.

DiGiorno® is a leader in the frozen pizza category. While pizza is one of the top selling categories in frozen food, it represents just 10% of the pizza market. That said, we had just a small slice of the massive pizza pie.

25 years ago, DiGiorno took on the ‘Delivery Giants’ using the famous tagline “It’s Not Delivery, It’s DiGiorno”. This approach was successful, but its effectiveness tapered off over time and our primary growth audiences, Generations Y and Z, saw us as just another frozen pizza brand. Especially because the ‘Delivery Giants’ are intensely focused on connecting with these young, multicultural audiences and have massive budgets at their disposal.

Competition remains fierce with new players emerging, such as mega-popular Barstool Sports.

DiGiorno needed to grab a bigger piece of the pie (pardon the pun). With the exciting launch of DiGiorno’s Fully Stuffed Crust Pizza later in the year, we had an exciting product innovation to set us apart. But how could we break through when the ‘Delivery Giants’ outspend us 10 to 1? It was a David vs. Goliath level match-up.

We needed to drive brand relevance and cultural connection during key times to win purchase occasions and we noticed that our competition was missing two critical insights to connect with Generations Y and Z.

First, TikTok was still considered experimental in the marketing world and the Delivery Giants largely stayed off the platform. With TikTok’s impact on culture and younger audiences, there was no better platform to drive brand relevance and cultural connection. In fact, 71% of users believe that the biggest trends start on TikTok. 68% of TikTok users experience better brand recall when brand content utilizes a song they enjoy. More importantly, content that utilizes custom music results in even higher brand recall and brand recognition. The reduced competitive presence on the platform coupled with the opportunity to engage our audience through music and sound offered an opportunity to reach our audiences more effectively, despite our limited budget.

Second, the category historically used functional messaging. However, 79% of Generations Y and Z want to be entertained by brands before purchasing - functional messaging just wouldn’t move the needle. This further validated our hunch that we needed to stop selling and start entertaining in order to drive sales.

By leveraging these insights, we decided to join our audience on TikTok and lean into the power of music. So we created an original musical anthem to capture our consumers’ attention and stand out in their feeds.

Because all TikTokers can utilize original audio and make it their own, songs give others the opportunity to join in on the fun. This means we could speak (as well as sing and rap) with our Generation Y and Z audiences - not at them.

We partnered with passionate DiGiorno fans who were also popular TikTok influencers known for their musical songs and skits. Our musical collab with TikToker and DiGiorno lover Kyle Exum produced a custom song called “DiGiorno Made Us Do It” that naturally integrated what Kyle loved about our pizza into a catchy tune.

We knew we were onto something once we saw views skyrocket and consumers commenting. Six months later, we dropped a whole concept album celebrating DiGiorno’s Fully Stuffed Crust pizza innovation. To appeal to a broader audience, we enlisted six influencers to create DiGiorno-inspired songs from Opera to Indie Rock and Hip Hop to Pop.

We tapped seven other influencers to use Kyle’s original audio. They showed their own take on how DiGiorno makes everything better - elevating the mundane to something truly awesome. One catchy single became a multi track album, “Rise.” The creative masterpiece was a cross-genre, anthemic album that empowered people to rise up and make their life - and everyday eating occasions - awesome! (This was also a yummy double entendre because our pizza is famous for its rising crust. Wink, wink.)

Each influencer strategically launched their creative interpretation of Kyle’s song during key pulse periods (i.e. Big Game, March Madness) to drive purchase during big ‘Delivery Giant’ occasions.

We amplified the influencer's content (literally) with paid media to reach a wider audience around the universally shared love of pizza paired with some great tunes.

We achieved (and exceeded!) our objectives. Generating the #1 ROAS for Food and Beverage advertisers on TikTok ($4.89), DiGiorno saw a 3.1%+ sales lift. We inspired ‘Delivery Giant’ consumers to purchase DiGiorno with new buyers' sales increasing 13%.

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