Pizza Hut Draws a Queen for Family Push

NEW YORK Queen Latifah will likely be the voice of Pizza Hut’s new family-focused brand positioning, which will debut in a $300 million campaign breaking this month. The contract, however, has not been finalized.

Tom James, new CMO at Pizza Hut, said the star will help the brand stake out a hip, family positioning. “When you mention family, people often shudder and think of Donna Reed. With Queen Latifah and the music we use, we’re making it more cool and contemporary.”

James likened a new tag,”Gather ’round the good stuff,” to Miller Time. “We’re taking the emotional high ground of the category,” he said.” It’s about sharing something with the people that are important to you,” said James, who came from ad agency Avrett, Free & Ginsberg, New York.

To kick off this new direction, the chain of 7,000-plus locations is putting together a first of its kind promotion offering a free DVD with the order of a large pizza at a regular price, either in-store or at home.

The debut ad, via BBDO, New York, will show families enjoying pizza and features an appearance by Martin Mull. The spot has a teen Pizza Hut delivery guy giving a short review of each movie as he delivers the pizzas. “Mr. Mom with Martin Mull. Hilarious as the bumbling, evil boss.” Mull replies: “Gee I thought I was pretty nice.”

The giveaways include four popular MGM titles: All Dogs Go to Heaven, Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey, Honeymoon in Vegas and Mr. Mom. The promo ends Aug. 2.

The DVD promotion was the No. 1 family-sharing idea, per Pizza Hut research. “It’s something of a catalyst for family night over and over again,” said Cindy Davis, now vice president of national marketing after coming over from BDDO, where she worked on the account for 13 months. She replaces Cindy Hennessey.

BBDO expects to name a replacement for Davis shortly, according to shop president and CEO Bill Katz.