Boston Pizza answers real demand with a fake cryogenics program

The restaurant is trying to rally more take-out sales and keep up momentum for a promotion that taps its customers' nostalgia.

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In times of darkness like a pandemic, it’s natural to get nostalgic, reflect on better times and moments that once made you smile.

For Boston Pizza fans, these moments include a time when they could be confident that food like the bacon double cheeseburger pizza and the “pizzaburger” would be on the menu. And for a little while longer, they can have that feeling again.

Sample Digital AdIn October, Boston Pizza launched a “BP Classics” promotion, bringing back items like the bacon double cheeseburger pizza or the pizza burger, previous fan-favourites that have since been taken off the restaurant’s menu, in response to constant demand on social media – some of which was highlighted in the campaign’s 15-second TV spots.

To keep momentum for the promotion going until it wraps up on Jan. 3, Boston Pizza has launched a new spot in response to the “tremendous” reaction it has received since October and further amplify it, says Niels van Oyen, director of marketing at Boston Pizza.

The video presents Boston Pizza’s fictional cryogenic storage program, which the restaurant humorously posits as a way to ensure the pizzaburger, twist bread and B.D.C could be preserved forever – although there is no way to predict how they’ll taste after they emerge from freezing, so it might be best to get them while they are still available.

“The cryogenics’ video is really for the people who were engaged and excited about classics coming back,” Van Oyen says. “We’re taking something that people already do – preserve things in their freezers – and extending that out to a more ridiculous end-state.”

Boston Pizza is hoping to tap into these positive feelings about the classics – as well as the fond memories of them and better times pre-pandemic – to continue to drive delivery and take-out, as many in-restaurant dining restrictions and closures are in place. Van Oyen adds that Boston Pizza has noticed that its fans have “special connections” with many of its menu items, but this year seemed like a good time to bring back classics, as “it would bring smiles to people’s faces when they might need it.”

Fans have connections to these items as they’ve not only been around a long time, but they’re also “uniquely BP,” he says, meaning something that’s fun, “unexpected” and incorporates pizza ingredients.

Boston Pizza’s same-restaurant sales were down 15.2% in Q3, and 28.2% year-to-date, versus the same period last year, due to declines in restaurant guest traffic that most in the sector are also grappling with. Van Oyen says increases in take-out and delivery sales haven’t offset the losses of dine-in revenue, but they have been “substantial enough to see our franchisees through to this point.”

John St. handled the creative, with UM on media buy. The campaign is running on digital, social and TV.