Ordering pizza from a shoe wasn't enough, apparently. Pizza Hut will now allow sneakerheads to place their orders from a button on one shoe and pause the TV with a button on the other.
Pie Tops II, the second iteration of PIzza Hut's techy kicks, are rolling out just in time for the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament. Pizza Hut is the official pizza of NCAA March Madness and the Final Four. And the next few weeks, as people watch hours of college basketball, is one of the busiest times of the year for Pizza Hut.
Yes, Pizza Hut's big sports news right now is how it swooped in to snag the NFL sponsorship deal that Papa John's abandoned. But first, it's basketball season.
After a limited run of 64 pairs given away in 2017, a nod to the teams in the March Madness bracket, there will be 250 pairs of the Bluetooth-enabled sneakers available this year. They're also now in two colors: half of them red and half of them "wheat," in more sizes and featuring design elements such as "cheese grater mesh" and "extra cheese pull laces," along with some Pizza Hut branding on the shoes. And this year Pizza Hut aims to sell 50 pairs, through Hypebeast, starting during the week of March 18. Pricing was not divulged. Other pairs will be distributed and can be won at the fan festival in San Antonio during the Final Four.
Pizza Hut once again worked Dominic Chambrone, known as the Shoe Surgeon, on the shoes. Droga5 handled the creative work.
Last year's shoe campaign focused on highlighting the ease of ordering.
"This year is really all about delivery," says Pizza Hut Chief Marketing Officer Zipporah Allen. "It will pause live TV so our customers don't have to miss a minute of the action."
While the new shoe should pause any live TV program (once set up it works much like a universal remote) of course the marketing around it is tied to March Madness. TV spots show a group of friends gathered to watch the games, including Jenny, who pauses the action by pressing her shoe when the pizza arrives.
Of course, few will actually get the shoes. The idea of reminding diners about the ease of ordering could boost Pizza Hut's visibility in the competitive space, where Domino's has taken the lead. More than 50 percent of Pizza Hut's orders are digital, and 70 percent of those are placed on a mobile device.
Marketing also promotes a value play, medium pizzas for $5.99 each when two or more are ordered.
"It's really important to be affordable," says Allen. Last year, Pizza Hut was promoting a large, two-topping pizza for $7.99 to those who placed online orders.
So, does the chain's new relationship with the NFL mean we'll see pizza ordering cleats this fall? "The possibilities are endless for football season," says Allen.