Pizza Hut Made ‘Pie Tops,’ With a Button on the Tongue to Order Pizza, for March Madness

Droga5 idea comes to life via the Shoe Surgeon

Headshot of Tim Nudd

Pizza chains are way ahead of the curve when it comes to innovative—some might even say goofy—ways to order pizza. Now, Pizza Hut raises the bar for March Madness with “Pie Tops,” a set of limited-edition high-tops that use geolocation to allow wearers to get pizza delivered to wherever they are.

Just press a special button on the tongue of the sneakers, and they connect with a Pie Tops app (not the regular Pizza Hut app) that orders pizza for you.

Ad agency Droga5 came up with the idea, and the sneakers were handmade by the Shoe Surgeon, aka Dominic Chambrone, who’s a legend in the custom sneaker business.

Grant Hill can explain more in this spot, which will air during March Madness:

David Daniels, vp of media and advertising for the Yum Brands chain, tells AdFreak that the client was thrilled with Droga5’s idea.

“We loved it,” he says. “This is one of those ideas that as soon as we saw it, we wanted to buy it. It hit everything we wanted to communicate in this window in a fun, really relevant way. And it was beautifully tied to the thematic of the tournament and the season.”

The handmade sneakers are extremely limited edition. Only 64 pairs were made, to match the 64-team field in March Madness, and most of them will go to influencers and people in the media, who can amplify the message. But a few lucky Pizza Hut fans are likely to get some pairs, too.

The broader point is to emphasize how easy it is to order a pizza from Pizza Hut via multiple digital devices and modes, Daniels says—phone, tablet, laptop, Alexa-enabled devices, Facebook Messenger, Twitter and more.

The stunt ties in to a specific Pizza Hut promotion for March and April—$7.99 for a large two-topping, available for carryout or delivery, but must be accessed online. Pizza Hut has other deals running concurrently, but the online nature of this deal made it a good time to focus on the ease of online ordering.

“As far as we know, this has never been done before,” Daniels says. “We feel it’s highly culturally relevant. Sneakers are hot. We’ve enlisted a really cool professional to design these shoes for us—the Shoe Surgeon out of L.A. These 64 pairs are handmade, and pretty cool.”

So, the sneakers are great for ordering pizza. How good are they in a game of basketball? Can they get a player to actually wear them on the court?

“We haven’t gone that far yet,” Daniels says with a laugh. “Grant will have a pair, though, and we’ll have to get his take on the performance nature of them on the court, versus ordering pizza.”

CREDITS
Client Pizza Hut
Campaign: $7.99 2-Topping Pizza
Title: March Madness Pie Tops
Launch Date: March 6, 2017

—March Madness Pie Tops :: Interactive Credits List

Agency Droga5 NY
Creative Chairman: David Droga
Chief Creative Officer: Ted Royer
Executive Creative Director: Scott Bell
Creative Director: Tara Lawall
Associate Creative Director: Ben Bliss
Associate Creative Director: Evan Schultz
Design Director: Michael Kleinman
Associate Design Director: Mark Yoon
UX Director: Luis Volante
Chief Creation Officer: Sally-Ann Dale
Co-Head of Film Production: Jesse Brihn
Co-Head of Film Production: Bryan Litman
Broadcast Producer: Scott Sitman
Associate Producer: Tony Xie
Associate Director, Production Business Affairs: Librado Sanchez
Senior Business Affairs Manager: Alesa Blanchard-Nelson
Director of Interactive Production: Niklas Lindstrom
Executive Producer, Interactive: Tasha Cronin
Executive Producer, Interactive: Jenn Mann
Interactive Producer: Grace Wang
Technical Director: Michael Mosley
Director of Art Production: Cliff Lewis
Senior Art Producer: Emily Heller
Director of Print Services: Rob Lugo
Print Producer: Rose Mahan
Creative Technology Director: Chris Allick
Tech Lead: Cody Landstrom
Global Chief Strategy Officer: Jonny Bauer
Group Strategy Director: Ramon Jimenez
Strategy Director: Ben Brown
Strategist: PJ Mongell
Communications Strategy Director: Delphine McKinley
Communications Strategist: Mariel Milner
Data Strategy Director: Lily Ng
Data Strategist: Christina Fieni
Group Account Director: Ben Myers
Account Director: Bradley Allen
Account Supervisor: Jordan Cappadocia
Account Manager: Victoria Gan
Associate Account Manager: Andrew Mullen
Senior Project Manager: Andrea Verenes
Associate Counsel: Erica M. Palaia

Pizza Hut Client
Chief Brand & Concept Officer: Jeff Fox
Chief Marketing Officer: David Timm
VP, Advertising & Media: David Daniels
VP, Marketing Zipporah Allen
Brand Manager: Antonieta Moreland
Senior Associate Manager, Marketing: Amanda West
APR Cost Consultant: Ron Hacohen

Production Company Biscuit Filmworks
Director: Matt Dilmore
Executive Producer: Rick Jarjoura
Head of Production: Mercedes Allen-Sarria
Line Producer: Andrew Denyer

Editorial Rock Paper Scissors LA
Editor: Carlos Arias
Assistant Editors: Anne Laure-D’hooghe
Producer: Ashley Bartell
Executive Producer: Eve Kornblum

Post Production MPC NY
Grade: MPC
Colorist: James Tillett
Executive Producer: Dani Zeitlin
Producer: Jenna Gabriel
VFX: MPC
Senior Producer: Matthew Loranger
2D Lead: Bilali Mack
VFX Team: Mazyar Sharifian, Anthony Ricciardi

Music
Production: Squeak E Clean Productions, Inc.
Composer: Justin Hori
Executive Producer: Amy Crilly
Producer: Christine Billich

Mobile Development Company TouchLab
Partner: Jeff Namnum
President: Kevin Galligan
Producer: Justin Mancinelli

—March Madness Pie Tops :: Broadcast Credits List

Client Pizza Hut
Campaign: $7.99 2-Topping Pizza
Title: March Madness Pie Tops
Launch Date: March 3, 2017

Agency Droga5 NY
Creative Chairman: David Droga
Chief Creative Officer: Ted Royer
Executive Creative Director: Scott Bell
Creative Director: Tara Lawall
Associate Creative Director: Ben Bliss
Associate Creative Director: Evan Schultz
Associate Design Director: Mark Yoon
Chief Creation Officer: Sally-Ann Dale
Co-Director of Film Production: Jesse Brihn
Co-Director of Film Production: Bryan Litman
Broadcast Producer: Scott Sitman
Associate Producer: Tony Xie
Associate Director, Production Business Affairs: Librado Sanchez
Senior Business Affairs Manager: Alesa Blanchard-Nelson
DIrector of Interactive Production: Niklas Lindstrom
Head of Art Production: Cliff Lewis
Head of Print Services: Rob Lugo
Global Chief Strategy Officer: Jonny Bauer
Group Strategy Director: Ramon Jimenez
Strategy Director: Ben Brown
Strategist: Pj Mongell
Communications Strategy Director: Delphine McKinley
Communications Strategist: Mariel Milner
Data Strategy Director: Lily Ng
Data Strategist: Christina Fieni
Group Account Director: Ben Myers
Account Director: Bradley Allen
Account Supervisor: Jordan Cappadocia
Account Manager: Victoria Gan
Associate Account Manager: Andrew Mullen
Senior Project Manager: Andrea Verenes
Associate Counsel: Erica M. Palaia

Pizza Hut Client
Chief Brand & Concept Officer: Jeff Fox
Chief Marketing Officer: David Timm
VP, Advertising & Media: David Daniels
Brand Manager: Antonieta Moreland
Senior Associate Manager, Marketing: Amanda West
APR Cost Consultant: Ron Hacohen

Production Company Biscuit Filmworks
Director: Matt Dilmore
Executive Producer: Rick Jarjoura
Head of Production: Mercedes Allen-Sarria
Line Producer: Andrew Denyer

Editorial Rock Paper Scissors LA
Editor: Carlos Arias
Assistant Editors: Anne Laure-D’hooghe
Producer: Ashley Bartell
Executive Producer: Eve Kornblum

Post Production MPC NY
Grade: MPC
Colorist: James Tillett
Executive Producer: Dani Zeitlin
Producer: Jenna Gabriel
VFX: MPC
Senior Producer: Matthew Loranger
2D Lead: Bilali Mack
VFX Team: Mazyar Sharifian, Anthony Ricciardi

Music
Production: Squeak E Clean Productions, Inc.
Composer: Justin Hori
Executive Producer: Amy Crilly
Producer: Christine Billich


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@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.
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