Papa Johns Splashes Out On Surrealism With Trippy Campaign

For an established and successful brand, whose advertising has mostly consisted of product shots, voiceovers and promotions, to say that its new work is a departure would be like  saying Papa Johns is a local small-town pizza joint.

Today Papa Johns released what it refers to as a new “brand platform” for the chain, “Better Get You Some,” along with one of the trippiest, creative hip-hop TV and video efforts ever from a pizza purveyor.

The new national animated and live-action spots, created with The Martin Agency and directed by Dave Meyers, feature Grammy award-winning rapper Big Boi as the voice of the catchy soundtrack that aims to be the next earworm of the moment.

The hero spot opens on woman on a date in a bar/restaurant, spying a Papa Johns delivery vehicle outside. It’s here the commercial takes the viewer on a wild psychedelic ride, the camera zooming into her pupils, which become rotating pizzas while the spot morphs into a montage of surreal cartoon and vintage clips, including a recreation of Munch’s “The Scream” with cartoon pizzas.

Green glittered mouths appear singing along with Big Boi to lyrics like, “Give me that ooey gooey crispy crunchy mouthwatering, give me that meaty creamy zesty besty, garlic saucy…. Give me that cheesy saucy tossy Papa Johns.”

While the brand, now based in Atlanta, will continue to use its long-standing tagline, “Better Pizza, Better Ingredients,” “Better Get You Some” “becomes a rallying cry for consumers, speaking to them on a different level,” Jaclyn Ruelle, Papa Johns’ vice president, head of brand, told QSR Insider. “We wanted to create something that felt a little bit more humanizing, a little bit more actionable and a little bit more relatable about what our brand means to our consumers.”

On the brand’s new creative direction, Ruelle explained, “We wanted to pull on different cultural triggers to allow us to land something that would be visually compelling, break through and get people to actually pause and watch [the spots] -- but also pair it with a hypnotic track that would get people moving… and excited about what they're seeing.”

For the music, the company “looked for who would be a great voice to help us break this out in the world, and hip hop has an incredible overlay with the majority of our consumers,” said Ruelle. “It was important to find someone that had an iconic voice… We're looking across other genres in the future, but we felt like it was a really great fit for Big Boi. He’s also from Atlanta -- and so we thought there was a really great community connection.”

The "Better Get You Some platform" is currently rolling out nationwide and in-store, with new branded pizza boxes already in use. As for digital, Ruelle said, “Most of our consumers are coming to see us across digital platforms, and we’re making sure that we've elevated the digital experience.. so customers are feeling that new brand look and feel come to life.”

Looking ahead, the campaign “has great creative flexibility,” Ruelle said.  “We can basically write lyrics about any types of product innovations that maybe we haven't even dreamed up yet… We think about building the brand and reconnecting to culture and driving that cultural relevance.

“We know the most talked-about brands in their category tend to be the ones that grow the biggest and the fastest. And so we will look at opportunities to do great cultural collaborations, and buzz driving activations out in the world, whether that's lighting up the social feeds or finding new ways to attack digital content spaces. Influencers and creators will continue to be a part of that."

Or, Ruelle considered, “maybe even on-the-ground experiences where we're bringing consumers front and center and putting slices in hand.”


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