Little Caesars Building Rome Day After Day

Little Caesars, Playstation and PepsiItalian-themed quick-serve restaurant chain Little Caesars is launching a promotion that includes advertising with Pepsi and Sony Entertainment. The program, "Buzz In to Win," centers on scratch-off coupons and dangles 450 PlayStation Trivia Prize Packs in total. The packs comprise PlayStation devices with various games, including Quiz TV, The Hollywood Quiz, Mega Quiz, and RoboJam.

The "Buzz In to Win" promotion begins this week and runs through April 27. Communication elements to support the promotion include print, broadcast and Web materials along with in-store point of purchase displays.

Customers get the "Buzz in to Win" scratch-off code cards when they buy a "Hot-N-Ready" pizza with any Pepsi beverage. Once they have revealed the codes, customers can enter them at to see if they have won prizes, which range from a coupon for items at Little Caesars to one of the 50 PlayStation Trivia Prize Packs the company is offering each week.



Mintel studies from the first and third quarters last year show that consumers have slashed restaurant spending. Eighty-nine percent of respondents to a Mintel survey last fall said they purchased pizza in the year ending August 2007 versus 76% for the year ending July 2008.

Mintel says that although Little Caesars is No. 4 among the Top 4 pizza chains that control 71% share among them, it is the only one that is making headway. While Pizza Hut (32.7% share), Domino's (19.4%), and Papa John's (11.9%) saw sales drop in 2007, Little Caesars (7.9%) posted over 5% growth, which Mintel attributes to an increase in units (2,045 in 2005, to 2,415 in 2007), and aggressive promotions and marketing.

Little Caesar's appears to be stealing market share from the other three major chains--and in particular, Domino's, says Mintel.

The firm says another, smaller chain--California Pizza Kitchen--has benefited from a cross-cultural menu offering varieties like Cajun Pizza and Vegetarian with Japanese Eggplant. Indeed, the booming Hispanic population in the U.S. may offer an exit from the doldrums if the chains start offering Mex-Italian varieties, notes Mintel.

In 2008, Domino's and Papa John's did their own promotions around major film releases: the former with "The Dark Knight" and Papa John's with "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor."

Says Mintel: "Promotions are ubiquitous, and Pizza Hut may be the leader. Any occasion seems to merit a promotion, and they usually involve the purchase of multiple pizzas in return for a discount."

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