What Anthony's Pizza Learned From TV Campaign


A year ago, Marketing Dailyreported that regional chain Anthony’s Pizza was trying a gutsy strategy: It shifted away from its longtime practice of using 90% of its annual marketing budget in out-of-home media, to using 90% in television.

The key was franchisees’ willingness to spend most of the year’s budget on running television in a concentrated flight period (five weeks during fourth-quarter 2011) -- using the medium to achieve greater reach and targeting, but less prolonged exposure than OOH. The restaurants relied on social media and grassroots marketing for exposure during the remainder of the year.



How did it pan out?  

The campaign produced a sales uptick at the Denver-based restaurants, according to John LeBel, who is VP of Anthony’s Pizza & Pasta International (the franchisees who own 24 of the 27 restaurants), a franchise owner and the chain’s chief marketer. “It was successful, and we’d do it again,” he says.

“Out-of-home is great for branding, and it’s been effective for years for Anthony’s,” particularly with creative from agency Cultivator Advertising & Design, says Mindy Gantner, VP media director at Explore Communications, the chain’s media agency. “TV is better at conveying messages and visually differentiating the restaurants. But you do need to have a budget large enough to make it effective. This year, there were other priorities. But when we have the budget -- yes, we may well use TV again.”

Indeed, last year’s TV ads ended up yielding market and customer insights that ultimately worked against having the funds for more TV this year. 

“The TV ads brought in new customers, and our talks with them were important in our decision to refresh the brand and the restaurants,” says LeBel. 

Pizzerias have been moving to more upscale positioning in Denver and elsewhere. Anthony’s, in addition to updating its logo, is investing in updating its interiors -- replacing a colder, modern-style design with a more comfortable, “classic pizzeria” environment that aligns with its authentic, New York-style pizza, LeBel reports.

Such investments rule out television for the time being. Instead, the chain is back to OOH, with new billboard and bus tail creative from Cultivator. 

The new campaign (sample shown above) indirectly takes on trendy fast-food options and faux-artisanal offerings by tweaking trendy behavior and spotlighting Anthony’s commitment to its classic recipes and genuinely artisanal ingredients.

Each ad bears the tagline “Anthony’s: Pizza That Never Follows Trends,” accompanied by messaging such as: “Really need a like button to tell you what you like?”; “Skinny guy jeans? Next year you’ll be wearing bell-bottoms”; “Love social media? Sit around a table with friends”; and “If you dress like a lumberjack and you’re not, then you’re not.”


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