Smart Strategy Leads To A Bigger Piece Of The Pie

You don’t have to be a huge brand to make big-time campaigns  – you just need to have a smart strategy. For a regional pizza franchise like Anthony’s Pizza and Pasta in Denver, those smarts are helping to make them seem anything but a small player in their market.  Having used a hefty amount of Out-Of-Home (OOH) placement in the past with billboards and sponsorship programs with the local NHL team, the Colorado Avalanche, they could stayed the path. They had already made a strong challenge to the larger chains with campaigns like last years’ “We’ve never had to change our recipe. Because it never sucked.” billboards – but they have taken an even bigger step with smart media planning and executions on TV (Network and Local) supported by well-managed social media and grassroots programs.

Karlene Lukovitz expands on much of the details of Anthony’s Pizza and Pasta’s local TV campaign in her MediaPost entry but the basic piece is the strategy for a relatively short flight of on-air spots across Network and Cable channels with augmenting support through their online outlets.  What was 90% spend on OOH in the past flipped to 90% television – all in the interest of making the statement for their NY Style Pizza against the national chains.

Though I can’t find any of the commercials online, it seems like their creative and media agencies (Cultivator Advertising & Design and Explore Communications) set up a targeted, high impact campaign with most of the annual budget being spent in Q4 ’11 and Q1 ’12.  The strategy of only producing 15 second spots – with nearly a dozen versions or variations for better contextual placement – is a smart one.  Regardless of their creative executions, all are consistent with the brand messaging/tagline of “authentic, New York-style pizza.”

Lukovitz’ post clarifies how the strategy is more effective in helping all franchisees and is not just a vanity play in the goals of the campaign:

Goals include introducing a fresh, compelling approach within the market, ensuring that all franchisees get equal benefit from the campaign (out-of-home tends to work best in the urban, high-traffic locations, as opposed to outlying areas), targeting two core audiences (males for single meals and moms for family meals) and of course, driving pizza sales.

There are some ways the campaign could be optimized.  Explore Communications’ representative said that they are hoping to drive numbers on Facebook, but they are not posting the Facebook call-out within the ads. They are doing a spend on Facebook to go along with the larger campaign – which is fine – but the online driver should be there with a clear url on the TV ads.  Hopefully that url is a concise one as the brand’s url is long.  If you try to Google Anthony’s Pizza and Pasta, there’s a bunch of them – which makes sense as Anthony is quite Italian…  The main site does have a Facebook call-out front-and-center with a strong incentive to Like the page for a free slice.  Additionally, I would look to place some of the spots on their site and Youtube – especially if they are funny.

What this campaign seems to prove is that you don’t have to spend considerably more to have a high-impact campaign on television – you just need to be smart about it.  Shorter flights and multiple creatives for flexibility in placement can help do the trick, but you’ve got to make sure your other marketing platforms are initiated to fill out the program entirely.  While the TV work should be good in the short-term, the planners realize that the true measure of success is that sustain and growth beyond Q1.

Research has shown that consumers want to make use of truly local retailers and restaurants IF the value is there and they know about it.  Sometimes, it’s a challenge to break through the beating drums of the national chains, but it can be done.  Anthony’s Pizza and Pasta and their local Denver agencies are looking to prove just that.

[UPDATE] I received links to the videos on YouTube and am posting to help clarify here.  They were smart to have a simple url at the end.  They should just post the spots all under the brand name instead of the agency’s name.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-00HcJl-0WI&feature=youtu.be
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTRrIwew71k&feature=youtu.be

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