Pizza Pops gets weird again with its fans

The General Mills brand builds on its nonconformist positioning to engage a slightly older demo online.


General Mills is once again embracing weirdness, but this time it’s focused on “weird” hobbies rather than wacky Pizza Pop mascots in hopes of spurring social engagement.

The “What a Time to Be Weird” campaign launched this week with an ad that depicts what appears to be an everyday office space. Then, at the touch of a button contained within a Pizza Pop, the workplace is revealed to contain a colourful array of closet anime, puppeteering, cosplay and wrestling fans.

To go along with the main ad, “What a Time to Be Weird” also features four digital videos focusing on real individuals and their weird habits.

The hero spot’s confused protagonist says Pizza Pops are neither a pizza, nor a calzone, which Paul Cuaso, associate director for meals, baking and new ventures at General Mills, says comes directly from customer feedback that said the product was “weird” and hard to categorize.

The brand decided to lean into the weirdness of the product, and Cuaso says the brand is hoping that the celebration of weirdness is a sentiment that will resonate especially well online, where nonconformist behaviours tend to be more celebrated. Cuaso describes each of the principals featured in the four online spots as a real-life weirdo, adding that the brand is also hoping to build a community of like-minded oddballs on Instagram with the #whatatimetobeweird hashtag. He says the message is that all of us are inherently weird to some degree, and focusing on its customers’ own personal expressions of weirdness is a good way to tell the brand story.

The campaign builds on the “#WeirdGood” campaign from 2018. However, rather than the young people in Pizza Pop costumes that campaign featured, the new effort is aimed at a slightly older demo.

In the past, Cuaso says the positioning of the Pizza Pops brand has been “a hunger-filler for teens that’s put in the microwave and explodes.” However, he tells strategy that is a bit of a misconception, as many of its customers are between the ages of 18 and 24. The goal for this campaign, he says, was to reach out to that group of people getting their first job and students living on their own who make their own purchasing decisions for their households, but who may have grown up with moms buying frozen hot snacks.

In addition to the videos, the brand is releasing online OTP and mobile ads as part of the campaign. PR and influencer relations was handled by Veritas Communications, while Cossette was the creative agency.