Pizza the Hut
June 18 2009
With a significant decline in sales, Pizza Hut is responding to the tough economic times by launching a new branding strategy. Will ‘The Hut’ make you want to eat out again?
It's no secret, more consumers are choosing to dine at home and avoid 'junk' foods to save money. The largest player in the pizza industry is trying to win back pizza fans with a new image and menu items like all-natural multigrain pizza, lasagna, and wings.
There's a big trend in general around having confidence in the foods that you eat. People over the age of 35, whose frequency with pizza is declining, said one of the big things that would reignite their passion with the category is to have a pizza made with multigrain crust and an all natural tomato sauce...
Design is a great way to create an emotional expression for your brand. But the pizza category has been a real laggard in doing that. Our red box is a game changer in packaging and design. And yes, we're also introducing another vocabulary word with Pizza Hut, which is 'The Hut.' That ties in nicely with (today's) texting generation. We wanted to make sure that Pizza Hut and 'The Hut' become common vernacular for our brand. Red is our mark and when you see that red roof, people will refer to it as 'The Hut' or 'Pizza Hut.' As we expand our online and mobile businesses, 'The Hut' is the perfect icon for our mobile generation.
- Brian Niccol, Pizza Hut CMO on BrandWeek
While 'The Hut' branded pizza boxes are already in use and several restaurants have already been converted, it has not been decided whether Pizza Hut will be rebranding all of its restaurants.
We think that 'The Hut' is to Pizza Hut as Coke is to Coca-Cola. We have begun using the term in conjunction with Pizza Hut in our advertising, pizza boxes and some restaurants.
- Christopher Fuller, Pizza Hut spokesman on WalletPop
Newly converted 'The Hut' restaurants have been seen popping up across the United States, including this one spotted in Florida by Paxton Holley:
Close up of an alternate logo, featured on the side of the new restaurant:
If Pizza Hut does decide to change its logo, I hope they go more in this direction over 'The Hut' (which reminds me a little too much of this character).
UPDATE: Pizza Hut spokesman Chris Fuller has replied in our comments ensuring that 'The Hut' is just a marketing effort and not a permanent name change. MSN reports: "The boxes and some store signs will say 'The Hut.' Others will retain the Pizza Hut name." In related news, Pizza Hut is launching Hut TV, an in-store video network which will allow customers to watch TV shows (like Wheel of Fortune and Entertainment Tonight) while dining at the new 'Hut' locations. Our article has been picked up by Brand New, The Gothamist, Coudal Partners, and a handful of other sites. (April 19, 2009)
Filed under: branding