Pizza Hut’s brand reinvention strategy has been something of a work-in-progress. The chain’s rebranding as a place to get pizza so radical and unprecedented that showing it to a bunch of old Italian people actually enrages them was, on the one hand, kind of weird. On the other hand, that Honey Sriracha crust, though. And now, as the brand continues to redefine itself as younger and hipper, it’s latched on to something extremely timeley: namely, the selfie stick.
In a new spot created with YouTube-focused branding firm Shareability, Pizza Hut runs with a faux PSA look to lament the increasingly long arms of selfie sticks and the intrusions they cause in contemporary living, as a compassionate-sounding host warns of the challenges caused by “the self-photographer.” As brand content goes, the spot (which runs a full two and a half minutes) doesn’t spend a lot of time on the Hut–what exactly do selfie sticks and pizza have to do with each other, anyway?–rather investing its time and energy into fully committing to the PSA gag. A Pizza Hut delivery driver appears briefly to lament that bigger selfie sticks leads to bigger everything, including parties and pizza (like the chain’s two-foot “dipper pizza”), but otherwise, it’s all about the selfie. “A lot of brands say they want to create shareable content, but really what they want to do is make a traditional commercial go viral,” Shareability CEO Tim Staples says. “That type of mindset is a recipe for almost certain failure. Smart brands understand that you need to give the audience a valuable piece of content and then attach their brand in a clever and subtle way.” Hence the delivery driver in a big Pizza Hut T-shirt.
Doug Terfehr, Pizza Hut’s director of public relations, communications, and corporate social responsibility, meanwhile, explains the connection for those who see “selfie stick” and “Pizza Hut” as a non-sequitur. “Our latest exciting product, the Big Flavor Dipper, is so big that a regular out-stretched hand just won’t do it. If you want to snap a photo of it, with you in it, you’re going to need a bigger stick,” Terfehr says. Instagramming your dinner has never been more complicated.