The underlying lesson in my experience in pizza marketing is about paying attention to the details and not being scared to challenge existing ways of thinking. Let us start by talking about cheese pulls. We know not all cheese pulls are created equal, but let’s dig a little deeper. The goal of the cheese pull is to make your mouth water; you want viewer’s attention on the gooey goodness of the long strings of cheese and create an appetite appeal. Here are three pictures of the cheese pull.Of the three, in A the pizza looks fresh and the cheese looks thick. In images B & C someone is touching the cheese over the crust and that visual is not a pleasant one (some may even be grossed out by this.) No one wants to think about other people’s hands on their cheese. Hence A is better than B and C, but using A in an advertising will only communicate freshness and not make the viewer hungry enough to buy the pizza now. Hence we need someone to bite into the pizza and then do the cheese pull.
Here are four examples of biting into a pizza without a cheese pull.
In all four examples there is no cheese pull and without that there is hardly any appetite appeal. The first guy seems to be posing for a picture and pretending to eat. You are probably thinking, is he going to actually eat it? Is there something wrong with the pizza that he doesn’t want to bite down? For E & F, both are biting down but there is no cheese pull. In G, the man is eating the last bite of pizza, and there is no cheese pull. This is worst of all worlds. In all four cases, the absence of the cheese pull robs the images of appetite appeal.
Finally, we have arrived at some of the most distracting pizza salesmen. In all cases we have a cheese pull. For H & I kids eating pizza makes us realize that this is kid’s pizza and relevant to an occasion for a kid’s party. The price of this pizza is expected to be low too. This is not a pizza parents are excited to eat themselves. In J, there is an attractive young woman… right, some pizza is in the picture too. You may be going back to the picture to see the pizza as you have missed it completely the first time. Finally in K, when people see the last picture they see the president, they don’t imagine themselves picking up the phone to call their local pizza joint. They may even think it is some kind of a PR news story.
Let us take this beyond cheese pulls. Just like cheese pulls every brand has established ways of marketing. I personally believe that it is important to challenge the existing thinking and find out ways to make it significantly better. In a category where doing the same has become the norm, a change will get noticed and make an impact.