Will Pastas do it for Pizza Hut?

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Keeping in mind its tagline, ‘Pizzas and Much More’, Pizza Hut recently announced the introduction of 11 new pastas. The move is being looked as an attempt by the brand to retain customers at a time when competition is heating up and brands like Domino’s have constantly introduced new offerings every quarter – the latest being the ‘Spicy Tasty’ platter, Potato Smackers and Stuffed Garlic Bread.

Sandeep Kataria, General Manager, Pizza Hut India, says. “We are constantly working towards living up to our tagline of being ‘Pizzas and Much More’. As part of this, we have launched this new range of pastas to introduce India to a whole range of pastas – sauteed, baked and lasagnas – all at great value.”

Being an Italian dish, pasta is new to Indian tastes and will need much of education to inculcate taste. To overcome the same, Pizza Hut has come up with a ‘Pasta Masti’ campaign.

Sandeep Kataria, General Manager, Pizza Hut India

Sandeep Kataria, General Manager, Pizza Hut India

According to Kataria, the campaign helps consumers make exploration of this relatively new food format (pastas) and helps remove any inhibitions that consumers may have. “Currently, we are focusing on spreading awareness about our Pasta Masti range. We want to draw in the section of audience who do not eat pastas as they believe it to be complicated and uptight. Our new range stands by its motto of “Jaise bhi aao, Jaise bhi khao,” he says.

Pizza Hut made its foray into India with a restaurant in Bangalore in June 1996 and was the first international restaurant chain to enter this category in India.

In the last 15 years, the brand has evolved from a Quick-Service Restaurant (QSR) to an affordable casual dining restaurant (ACDR) and has added variety in its menu. Pizza Hut celebrated 15 years of its presence last year, in the organised casual dining segment which is projected to be growing at a rate of about 25 per cent YOY, and is estimated to be over Rs 2.5 billion.

The TVC depicts pasta as something that adds a fun element, when one is hanging out with friends positioning the brand as fun, friendly and free flowing, in the casual dining space as opposed to a formal expensive Italian restaurant, that pasta is normally associated with.

The creative execution shows four friends enjoying the new pasta range at Pizza Hut with friendly banter, leg pulling and bonding – typical of an outing with friends – and it’s all focused around new pastas at Pizza Hut.

“The TVC is all about demystifying the pasta experience, transforming it from being a formal, uptight affair to a more fun and easy-going experience. The campaign demonstrates that there is no one way to eat pasta. It is best enjoyed in your own unique, individual way with your friends – the Fun Way!” says Surjo Dutt, Executive Creative Director, JWT India, the agency that has conceptualised the TVC for the brand.

The brand is primarily using the television and digital medium to reach out to consumers and has over 1.7 million Facebook fans, where the brand runs various contests as well as interactive posts to engage consumers.

Delving more into the brand’s digital plan, Kataria says, “From our Pasta Dictionary – Pastictionary to other engagement activities on our 1.7 million fans’ strong Facebook page to using popular digital media on Google, YouTube, Rediff, Yahoo etc to mobile, we have a strong digital plan in place to support the traditional media blitz,” says Kataria.

With 135 stores providing full service dining, the brand claims to be the largest casual dining brand in the country.

On quizzed on Pizza Hut’s market share in the QSR space, Kataria says, “It is difficult to put a number on the share of Pizza Hut in the space as the dining industry is constantly growing with new domestic and international players establishing their brand in the country.”

Only time will tell if the new pasta series indeed makes the brand more popular among consumers and increases brand loyalty.

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