Big brands hoping to score with a variety of marketing tactics on Super Bowl Sunday

| by S.A. Whitehead
Big brands hoping to score with a variety of marketing tactics on Super Bowl Sunday

Some of the nation's mega brands, including Domino's, Pizza Hut, KFC and Wendy's, are preparing to wage all-out war against one another in the battle for Super Bowl business. Each will fight for its piece of the pie on what the USDA describes as the  No. 2 food holiday of the year. Fifteen percent —  or about 48 million people — will place some type of food order. 

Delivery goes social

When it comes to delivery, the most contentious matches are online, on the air, and on all sorts of ordering apps and other services nationally. Domino's, for example, is launching Facebook Messenger, and Pizza Hut is putting all its ad dollars into social media.

Domino's is making this enhanced ordering capability available for the first time this week to all off its customers. In doing so the brand becomes the first national pizza chain to have full ordering capabilities on Messenger.

"Prior to today, customers with a Pizza Profile were limited to placing their most recent order or Easy Order via Messenger," Domino's Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Officer Dennis Maloney said in a news release. "Now anyone, especially those watching the big football game, can place any order for any menu item they want — no Pizza Profile needed — thanks to Dom, our enhanced ordering assistant bot." 

To entice more people to use the enhanced feature, Domino's is also giving guests 20 percent off every menu-priced item in their orders simply by requesting that a coupon be used when they order. The brand also passed along some fun facts about the day as part of its announcement about the new capability.

Much of Domino's business Sunday will actually not be for pizza, but rather for some of more than 4 million anticipated chicken wings the chain will deliver. The chain said its Super Bowl Sunday experience shows that as far as orders, sales tend to increase when Super Bowl games are very close, while orders in the city of the team that wins the big game tend to spike not during play, but after the match is over.  

Pizza Hut is putting all of its pies in one basket by emphasizing both its team members and social media channels. The brand features pro football running back and former Pizza Hut team member DeAngelo Williams in a series of YouTube and Facebook videos that emphasize the teamwork, strategy and all-out effort of its team members to deliver some 2 million pies nationwide this Sunday. 

The videos come on the heels of the chain's announcement that it would add 11,000 employees for Super Bowl Sunday service. In the videos, Williams coaches a new crop of trainees through hurdles like the "curb-to-door hustle", a lawn flamingo cone drill and a pen search, which certainly many who work outside of pizza delivery will relate to, as well. 

"No one works harder on the day of the big game than our team members and delivery drivers," Pizza Hut Vice President of Media and Advertising David Daniels, said in a news release. "We love that DeAngelo is back with us to have some fun and help coach our rookies on how to best succeed with fast and accurate service during our busiest day of the year."

Two chains dip their toes into the 'spendy' world of Super Bowl ads:
Both KFC and Wendy's are running their first ever in-game Super Bowl ads this coming Sunday. On a day when many viewers are as interested in the highly produced and often hugely funny ads between play, these costly purchases are big deals.

The focus at Wendy's is on the "other guys," as in Wendy's QSR burger competitors, who the brand alleges serve "frozen beef" products. Wendy's has directed the brand's marketing focus recently on its restaurants' use of "fresh, never frozen beef." To drive that point home, the brand bought a 30-second spot during the Super Bowl, which focuses entirely on those "other guys," shown in the ad as operating from a cavernous freezer filled with frozen beef patties. 

"The message is simple: Don’t settle for frozen hamburgers from the other guys when Wendy’s has fresh, never frozen beef," Wendy's spokesman, Steven Coulombe, said in an email to QSRWeb. "You may be surprised to hear that Wendy’s research showed that seven out of 10 consumers don’t believe Wendy’s serves fresh beef … and what better way to take its fresh beef message to the biggest stage than advertising in the Super Bowl."

 KFC's ad will run for 15 seconds in the game's fourth quarter and features two versions of the brand's famous colonel, dueling for dominance, according to a news release. Georgia Gold Colonel Billy Zane takes on Kentucky Buckets Coach Colonel Rob Riggle in the ad, which the brand and all others advertising during this costly chunk of air time likely hope will pack at least double the punch on the eating-out habits of Super Bowl viewers long after the game is over. 

"KFC is back — back to making chicken the way our founder, Colonel Harland Sanders made it, and back in pop culture — so we're celebrating on the biggest advertising stage of the year: The Super Bowl," KFC U.S. Chief Marketing Officer Kevin Hochman, said in a news release. 


Cover photo: istock

Topics: Business Strategy and Profitability, Marketing

S.A. Whitehead

Award-winning veteran print and broadcast journalist, Shelly Whitehead, has spent most of the last 30 years reporting for TV and newspapers, including the former Kentucky and Cincinnati Post and a number of network news affiliates nationally. She brings her cumulative experience as a multimedia storyteller and video producer to the web-based pages of and after a lifelong “love affair” with reporting the stories behind the businesses that make our world go ‘round. Ms. Whitehead is driven to find and share news of the many professional passions people take to work with them every day in the pizza and quick-service restaurant industry. She is particularly interested in the growing role of sustainable agriculture and nutrition in food service worldwide and is always ready to move on great story ideas and news tips.

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