Pizza Pizza gives magical flavour to holiday promotion

The QSR continues to add depth to its deals-focused marketing with a national campaign promoting a festive t-shirt.

Pizza Pizza is rolling out a holiday campaign that retains the QSR’s focus on promotions-based marketing, while taking a more emotional approach to the festive season.

The pizza restaurant chain is running a “Magical Holiday Shirt” promotion, available now until Dec. 17 with the purchase of two large pizzas, and advertising the offer with a national campaign developed with agency partner The Local Collective. The Toronto agency opened shop last month with the promise of tapping local insights over “universal” ones.

The campaign spot shows a couple staring in awe at a beautifully framed shirt signed by the “pizza delivery guy.” The shirt – which features a gingerbread man riding a dolphin – was inspired by the ugly holiday sweater trend that has become more popular in recent years. The design is one of four available as part of the promotion; others feature a pizza unicorn, a cat wearing pizza underneath the mistletoe and a holiday pizza necklace.

There’s always a need for value-driven marketing in the QSR space, says Alyssa Huggins, VP of marketing at Pizza Pizza. But while “Magical Holiday Shirt” retains that promotional aspect, the campaign is also about “embodying the element of togetherness” experienced among friends and family during the holidays, and enabling them to express a degree of “uniqueness.”

When Huggins was hired to lead Pizza Pizza marketing early this year, CEO Paul Goddard said in a release her experience in QSR and in other sectors would help the brand maintain its position “as a progressive, innovative and experience-driven QSR brand.”

The launch of its new cauliflower crust last summer was promoted with a TV spot inspired by the “Pinterest Fail” social trend, in which people post images of their DIY projects gone wrong. At the time Huggins said the work shifted the brand “away from being so heavily deal focused” and more towards connecting with customers on an emotional level.

As for “Magic Holiday Shirt,” Huggins says it’s the first big holiday push that Pizza Pizza has done in recent years. Over that time, it has typically offered holiday bundles or deals that went without the spend associated with a fully integrated campaign. In addition to playing on TV, this year’s push includes digital, radio, OOH, in-store, influencer and PR support. So far, Huggins says the campaign has driven the highest levels of social engagement of the year.

Recently, Pizza Pizza hired Michelle Read-Kulig, former head of digital marketing at TMX Group, to help support those efforts as director of digital marketing and loyalty.

Media Dimensions handled the media buy and The Colony Project worked on PR.