Adrian Fuoco named VP marketing at Pizza Pizza

Arriving from Boston Pizza, the marketer will strive to balance promotions with more diversified and meaningful brand tactics.

Adrian Fuoco

Adrian Fuoco has been named the next VP marketing for QSR Pizza Pizza.

Reporting to company CEO Paul Goddard, Fuoco will oversee all marketing for both Pizza Pizza and its Pizza 73 sister brand in Western Canada. The role, which he stepped into in December, comes with oversight of strategy, media, sponsorships, communications and PR for the chain’s combined 750 locations across Canada.

“We need to continue to embrace change and be the innovation leader in the category; we need to build up the brands and leverage our strengths to drive awareness, traffic and profitable sales,” Fuoco says of his mandate. “Specifically, I’m here to help sell a lot of pizzas.”

Fuoco replaces Alyssa Huggins in the role, who left for the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation last summer. Huggins had spent roughly one year in the role, maintaining the brand’s focus on value and promotions while experimenting with more emotionally-driven marketing. It was during her tenure that Pizza Pizza rolled out a quirky video promoting its cauliflower crust and a holiday commercial featuring creative takes on the ugly holiday sweater (including one of a gingerbread man riding a dolphin).

It’s a balance Fuoco will strive to maintain.

“Every brand, particularly those associated with value, wants to diversify beyond promotions and create meaningful relationships with people so they’re engaging with you for more than just saving a buck,” he says, adding that Pizza Pizza is no different. “What’s important for me is finding a harmonic balance between long term brand equity and evolution and nearer term performance targets.”

His immediate priorities include using data to better understand how the banners add value to consumers’ lives. Under Huggins, the QSR expanded its marketing department, adding a director of digital and loyalty, director of marketing insights, a dedicated marketing manager for Pizza 73 and a production manager to oversee content for the brand. Those new roles, Fuoco estimates, will remain more-or-less in place as the chain continues to evolve its digital roadmap and invests in new tech. 

“Pizza Pizza has a long history of success through competitive pricing, food and tech innovation, convenience and reliable delivery. So, there are a lot of strengths we can leverage,” he says. “The immediate question is what strengths are differentiating and motivating and how best to break through to keep the brands top of mind for the right reasons.”

Prior to joining Pizza Pizza, Fuoco was senior director of marketing for Boston Pizza, where he oversaw brand communications and media. During that time, he worked on the brand’s “BP in Bed” campaign (featuring pizza boxes that unfolded into tables) for Father’s Day, the Cannes-shortlisted mini patio chairs and, most recently, a holiday caroling pizza box that played a version of “Carol of the Bells” when opened. Prior to that, he spent 12 years at Canadian Tire.

Last month, Pizza Pizza activated on a Toronto Raptors sponsorship by turning some of its pizza boxes into a mini tabletop basketball game, and this week, it partnered with Unbun Foods to provide a keto-friendly crust option to customers.