Pizza Pops does a merch drop

The brand's latest digital stunt, plus spots showing the awkwardness of being a teen, continue its "weird good" strategy.

Screen Shot 2020-11-04 at 3.58.51 PM

Pizza Pops is giving away free merch in its latest push to relate to its young male target.

The stunt, part of the brand’s “weird good” approach, plays out on a microsite showing a Pizza Pop inside an interactive microwave. It’s a game of patience and timing, waiting for the timer to reach zero to see what merch the brand will give away – like a stylish black hoodie with an illustrated microwave, or a t-shirt with the tagline “Wreckin’ Mouths Since ’64,” a nod to both when Pizza Pops were created and people’s tendency to eat them while they’re still too hot.

Microwavedrop Press stills

According to Liana Condotta, marketing communications manager for Pizza Pops at General Mills Canada, the microsite is intended to replicate how its target – “dudes,” (both males and females) ages 13 to 24 – experiences Pizza Pops: anticipating that long-awaited beep when it’s ready and they can indulge.

“We own the microwave,” Condotta says. “I think this really helps to solidify that.” Condotta says they wanted to create a digital version of making a Pizza Pop, as the anticipation is part of the fun and fans respond well when the brand acknowledges the snacking experience (even if that includes the mouth-burning line on the t-shirt).

Condotta says keeping its target entertained with digital stunts builds brand affinity. Past efforts have included a digital scavenger hunt to find the URL for a hidden website and FaceTiming a Pizza Pop. This approach leads to more engagement than a TV spot alone, Condotta notes – for instance, the brand received over 60,000 calls when it did its “Face Time a Pizza Pop” initiative. The scavenger hunt delivered tens of thousands of entries within the span of two weeks.

Entertainment-focused executions have become even more vital as its target has fewer options to keep them occupied during the pandemic, and Condotta adds that free merch serves to only increase engagement.

Spots promoting the site show teenage “Mike,” the microwave, in various awkward and weird situations with his parents, such as having a talk with dad about Pizza Pops that is similar to “the birds and the bees,” or his mom finding a “stash” of Pizza Pops in his knapsack.

A third spot shows Mike’s failed dating attempt, when his date puts a Pizza Pop inside him to microwave and waits awkwardly in silence until the pop is cooked. The spots were created to promote the Pizza Pops brand as a whole.

“This series of films really captures this universal experience of being a teen,” Condotta says. “[Mike] personifies all of our dudes. We tried to spotlight Mike’s journey, navigating his teenage life in an authentically weird way.”

Cossette developed the creative and handled the media buy for the campaign, which includes paid digital and social.