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Pizza Hut takes a dig at Domino’s in its new ad campaign

LiveMint logoLiveMint 17-04-2017 Saumya Tewari

New Delhi: Yum Brand-owned quick service restaurant chain Pizza Hut has rolled out a digital campaign taking a dig at its rival Jubilant FoodWorks-owned Domino’s Pizza. The series of three videos cheekily suggests that “no one” can resist Pizza Hut’s pan pizzas.

Made by advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather, the campaign features two young protagonists suggestively named Dominic and Dominica who profess their love for pan pizza from Pizza Hut. One of the tongue-in-cheek ads features Dominic in a hypnotist’s clinic who is a part of Team Blue (dominant colour of brand Domino’s) who fails to turn him away from Pizza Hut. In the second ad, Dominica ends up professing that she loves Pizza Hut over any other pizza chain while playing truth and dare. The third ad shows how Dominic is ready to leave his office meetings and ignore calls from his boss because of Pizza Hut. All the ads end with the line, “My name is Dominic/Dominica and I love Pizza Hut”.

“We do not comment on our competition. As a market leader, we are more focused on our consumers and growing the pizza market in the country,” said a spokesperson from Domino’s Pizza India. Pizza Hut, too, declined to comment on its new ads.

Such spoof advertising is a common ad tactic leveraged by cola and detergent brands. Beverage giants Coca-Cola India Inc. and PepsiCo Holdings Pvt. Ltd have successfully cashed in on this phenomenon since the 1990s. Recently, PepsiCo, in its new campaign for 7up , took a dig at Coca Cola’s Sprite by stating that the new generation is not clear about its choices. The ad attacks Sprite’s tagline “Clear hai” by adding “Apni purani clarity humare gale mat utaro”.

Apart from cola, the detergent category also uses spoof advertising to promote its superiority over rival brands. Globally, tech giants, Samsung and Apple have also locked horns over cutting-edge technology and features.

Gulshan Singh, executive planning director, FCB Interface, said while the Pizza Hut ads are clever, they do not go far in terms of effectiveness. “Spoof advertising has made a mark in the past especially in the cola category. Sprite , for instance, has often mocked its rival Mountain Dew’s ‘Do the dew’ proposition in its ads. However, I believe that it is extremely difficult to impact consumer behaviour or attitudes if a brand is only taking potshots at the competition and not communicating their offering,” he said. Singh noted that Domino’s has made an interesting shift in its ad strategy recently by bringing back actor Paresh Rawal, especially as it is building a clear transactional connect with the app. According to him, Pizza Hut should focus on its own advantages to make its communication more impactful.

Meanwhile, Titus Upputuru, creative head, Taproot Dentsu Gurgaon, said one of the biggest con of spoof advertising is that brands end up promoting their competitor. “In this case, Pizza Hut is recalling Domino’s. Brands also might end up losing respect and credibility if they cross a line while mocking the rival. If things get ugly or a brand is trolled on social media it ends up investing in online reputation management to deal with the situation,” he said.

The promoters of HT Media Ltd, which publishes Mint, and Jubilant FoodWorks are closely related. There are, however, no promoter cross-holdings

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