Super Bowl Sunday is just around the corner. Super Bowl is the #1 night for pizza delivery. But it was not this way all the time. Let me take you back to 1990s. Look at this Pizza Hut ad from 1990s. One thing is missing in the ad is no mention of delivery. Early 1990s Pizza Hut Delivery took the country by storm. This Pizza Hut ad was one of the early delivery ads, which had the catchy jingle, Change for the Better, Change for the best.
One market where Pizza Hut delivery did not catch on immediately was Southern California. I was invited by Larry Zwain to jump in and look at the reason for this. The research team did every possible consumer research, and found the following:
- Customers loved Pizza Hut
- They were ordering from Pizza Hut
- They showed very high purchase intent for getting pizza delivered to them
- They showed very high purchase intent for Pizza Hut delivery
But why were they not buying? What was it that we were missing?
As a final attempt, I decided to do a series of one on one interviews with customers. Within minutes of the first group, I got my answer. The answer was so simple and obvious.
Respondents started telling me, that “Pizza Hut does not deliver to me.” Wow, that was a direct answer.
When I asked them what they meant, each went on to say that, a year or two back, “I called Pizza Hut delivery and the person who answered the phone got my street address and checked. Then I was told that Pizza Hut does not deliver to your address.”
I showed them the Pizza Hut Delivery ads that were running in the market. The customers started getting a little frustrated with my ‘not getting it’. One customer finally explained it to me and I got it.
“I have seen these ads. I know Pizza Hut delivery is in the city. But remember that I told you, I called a few years back, that I called Pizza Hut delivery and the person who answered the phone got my street address and checked. Then I was told that Pizza Hut does not deliver to your address.”
At that instance I realized that each of the customers (and thousands like them in the market) in the area had a PERSONAL REJECTION. All the ads on the air were not REVERSING THAT PERSONAL REJECTION. In fact, it felt that the customers did not want TO RISK A SECOND PERSONAL REJECTION.
So what was the answer? Very simple. Pizza Hut put up billboards in the market which said, “If you can see this ad, Pizza Hut Delivers to you.”
When I look back, I felt the consumers were acting very rationally. They took the input directly from Pizza Hut delivery order takers and held on to it, untill Pizza Hut made the effort to change it.