Pizza Hut Launches 'The Insider'

Pizza Hut is looking inward for a new marketing hit as it releases a $40 million campaign for its latest product.

Touted as a pizza inside a pizza, “The Insider” contains a base crust, a layer of six types of cheese, another thin tier of dough, additional cheese and a topping.

The promotion began last week with a teaser campaign from Dallas-based TLP. The quarter-page ad appeared in USA Today with the words, “What is Pizza Hut trying to hide?”

Television spots revealing Pizza Hut’s “hidden agenda” broke on Sept. 24. Media purchases include the Summer Olympics, network prime time, and Sunday afternoon and evening National Football League programming.

The first of three 30-second TV spots from BBDO, New York, is heavy on close-ups of a pepperoni pizza and its preparation.

Two additional commercialsfeature a British actor demonstrating metaphorically how Pizza Hut incorporates all the ingredients. In one, two handlers push an elephant (compliments of some special effects) into a telephone booth. The second spot shows four sumo wrestlers cramming into a photo booth. The ads end with the $9.99 price flashed on screen and the ongoing “The best pizzas under one roof” tagline.

Charlie Miesmer, vice chairman and senior executive creativedirector of BBDO in New York,said the accent of the British actor helps the spots “break throughin a [Monty] Pythonesque way.”

An idea for the campaign that did not pass muster was to cram the Riverdance troupe into an elevator while they were performing. “We wanted something that was funny but that was also a metaphor,” Miesmer said, referring to the oversized elephant and Sumo wrestlers.

The chain’s “Big New Yorker” pizza campaign last year used Donald Trump, Fran Drescher and Spike Lee, who exclaimed about the $9.99 price, “What do you think this is? Indiana?”

In related pizza news, the Dallas-based company learned last week that its initially successful lawsuit against Papa John’s of Louisville, Ky., had been overturned by an appeals court. Although the latter’s “Better ingredients. Better pizza.” slogan was still termed “misleading,” the court ruled that it was unlikely consumers would be confused by the claim, which amounted to mere “puffery.”