Cannes Lions

Pizza Hut Melts: Not For Sharing

GSD&M, Austin / PIZZA HUT / 2023

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Overview

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Credits

Overview

Background

In order to break into the lunch space, Pizza Hut created new Pizza Hut Melts. Unlike pizza, Melts are made for the individual on the go. Not only was this a new product for Pizza Hut, it was an entirely new product category.

Our brief was to launch the product, making it clear that Pizza Hut Melts are "made for you" with an objective to garner headlines, encourage sharing of new Melts and drive sales.

Idea

Unlike pizza, Melts are just for you. So how do you get people to share the news? We told them NOT to share it.

We did the exact opposite of what most brands would do when launching a new product. We literally told people not to share it—in real life or on social media. And yes, we paid, bribed and even negotiated with fans online to prevent them from sharing their Melts.

Strategy

Targeting a new generation of Pizza Hut fans, which are more mobile, more on-the-go, Pizza Hut Melts were designed to appeal to Gen Z consumers. As a result, we built a campaign that lived in the social spaces they frequented, most notably TikTok, Instagram and Twitter.

But rather than ask them to share our new product—a request they would likely ignore anyway—our approach was to ask them not to share it. Which makes total sense for a product that's not meant to be shared either. It was a call to inaction.

Ironically, we incentivized them to take down their posts. Because when people saw that their friends were making money and winning prizes by deleting Melts, that, of course, led them to share their Melts even more. Because when you tell Gen Z to do something, they'll just do the opposite.

Execution

It started with a headline: Pizza Hut will pay you not to share your Melts. Literally, we paid people $100 by signing our MDA (Melts Disclosure Agreement)—a two-pages long (not legally binding) document in which fans promised never to share their Melts.

Then over the course of the month-long campaign, when fan reviews of new Melts inevitably poured in, we negotiated with them on social to delete their posts, offering up any prize you could think of (a drone, a new gaming console, a tuba, whatever…) just to get them to take it down. Negotiations took place in the DMs with their settlements agreed to in public. Of course, this only caused more people to share their Melts. Oops.

Outcome

Turns out when you tell people not to do something, it only makes them want to do it more. With press from our MDA announcement plus social sharing of our Melts negotiations, we garnered over 2.1 billion impressions and 266,790 MDA Signatures for new Pizza Hut Melts.

As Ad Age wrote, "food brands are usually desperate for people to talk about their brands on social platforms. But Pizza Hut's new campaign takes the reverse approach." In a world of sharing, we chose to launch our new product by doing the exact opposite, leading to a 5% systemwide sales increase for the quarter and Pizza Hut’s most successful launch of the year.

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