By: Alyssa Das

Pizza Hut is a pretty big brand in the United States, they have over 1.3 million followers on Twitter and 27,261,184 likes and 3,961,779 page visits on their Facebook. According to Social Media Today this is because their content team is quick and able to turn ideas into social posts within minutes. This idea holds true for their UK brand as well.

Pizza Hut UK recently began campaign to promote their new delivery option, the campaign is called It’s A Big Deal. For £14 you can get a large pizza, any side, garlic bread, wedges, and a 1.5 liter drink. They promoted their new campaign with some pretty ridiculous ads, check this one out: ad video

Pizza Hut Delivery – The Big Deal 30s from Ogilvy & Mather Group UK on Vimeo.

These videos show things people would think are a big deal (divorce, lightning strikes, magnetic faces, a ventriloquist doll going solo) and kind of say “hey that’s not a big deal, this is a big deal.”  The nature of the campaign is silly, Adweek says “It goes without saying that the ads are still pretty dumb, but that’s the point.”

At first, it was a pretty good campaign. People were talking about the ads, they were talking about Pizza Hut and they were ordering more pizzas. The trouble of this campaign came on January 16th 2016, in the middle of the tennis match-fixing scandal. (side note: If you aren’t a huge tennis fan and don’t know much about this scandal you should check it out, it’s huge.)

The only explanation I could ever come up with for the following tweet is what I call The Attack of the Intern. Someone on Pizza Hut’s social media team must have given the Twitter login to an ambitious and excited intern who decided this would be a great idea: 

The tweet has been deleted since January, but I’ve got a screen shot of it above. The GIF was of a tennis player swinging a racket with text saying something along the lines of “that’s not a big deal” then switching to a pizza and saying “this is a big deal.” Classy.

The reality though, is this probably wasn’t the work of an intern, it’s probably the work of a group of experienced people; but if I were Pizza Hut, I would totally blame it on my intern. I think the tweet singlehandedly turned a somewhat successful campaign into a really big social fail.

There is a time and a place for humorous campaigns and I think brands have got to be careful when trying to connect their campaigns to current events.

The GIF made the tweet so much worse. It shows that there was more than a split-second decision to tweet or not tweet, it shows there was a conscious decision and process to make this. I am no design expert, but that animation had to have taken at least an hour to make, meaning they had at least an hour to decide this was a terrible idea. But they didn’t. They ran it.

This tweet was a social fail because it took something people cared about (tennis scandal) and turned it into a joke. Tennis is the fifth most popular sport in the UK. Pizza Hut should have considered this fact when they were thinking about making this tweet. They should have considered the connections they were going to lose with tennis fans while making this tweet. They should have considered how one tweet could ruin an entire campaign while making this tweet. But they didn’t. Instead they took time and effort to make fun of something a lot of people were upset about, turning their campaign into a social fail.

Sources:
Brand of the Day: Pizza Hut Wants You to Know Italians Hate Its Pizza. (n.d.). Retrieved February 17, 2016, from http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/brand-day-pizza-hut-wants-you-know-italians-hate-their-pizza-161548
Mutants and a Talking Puppet Can’t Believe Pizza Hut Is for Real in These Silly Ads. (n.d.). Retrieved February 17, 2016, from http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/mutants-and-talking-puppet-cant-believe-pizza-hut-real-these-silly-ads-169036
O&M London make a ‘Big Deal’ of Pizza Hut Delivery. (n.d.). Retrieved February 17, 2016, from http://www.themarketingblog.co.uk/2016/01/om-london-make-a-‘big-deal’-of-pizza-hut-delivery/
Pizza Hut Delivery – Big Deal – Puppet by Ogilvy & Mather Group UK – Television. (n.d.). Retrieved February 17, 2016, from http://www.adforum.com/creative-work/ad/player/34521475/big-deal-puppet/pizza-hut-delivery
Taco Bell Delivers Saucy Valentine’s Campaign Via Snapchat. (2015). Retrieved February 17, 2016, from http://marketingland.com/taco-bell-delivers-saucy-valentines-campaign-via-snapchat-118372
The Big Brand Theory: Pizza Hut. (2014). Retrieved February 17, 2016, from http://www.socialmediatoday.com/content/big-brand-theory-pizza-hut
The Surprising Audience That Responded to Pizza Hut’s Rebranding. (n.d.). Retrieved February 17, 2016, from http://www.crimsonhexagon.com/blog/opinion/surprising-audience-responded-pizza-huts-rebranding/