Among the top 10 pizza chains, only one has had 25 consecutive quarters of same-store sales increases. And, only one pizza chain refused to drop the price of their pizza during the recession. Hungry Howie’s.
It all started with an ad guy sporting a pink tutu and 13 million pink pizza boxes. Hungry Howie’s held their price firm and launched combo meals. Then, they raised a million dollars for breast cancer screenings and delivered double-digit sales increases. That’s not just the power of pink. That’s the power of purpose.
Hungry Howie’s Pizza found itself in a price war to win pizza orders during a recession. While many other chains cut quality to reach a lower price, Hungry Howie’s didn’t want to change the recipe. In fact, they even wanted to give away some of the profits for causes including breast cancer awareness. That spurred an idea.
Cause campaigns can be effective to drive consumer preference without discounting the product. DBA has a passion to determine the right cause and motivate the right audience to support it. When we first looked at the pink pizza box, we knew we had a winner.
We always look for free media. Sometimes it’s earned. Sometimes it’s right under our nose. The “Love, Hope & Pizza” campaign launched billboards onto kitchen tables across the country by printing 13 million pizza boxes pink.
We produced franchisee testimonial videos and shared them in social media, placed specials online and promoted through Howie’s branded Facebook portal.
We supported the launch with radio spots, live mentions by radio hosts, TV spots integrated with contextual Facebook placements to prime the pump for social media impact. Because of the motivation to support a good cause, we were able to negotiate substantial added value mentions with the radio stations and the social community.
Hungry Howie’s is currently in its 25th quarter of consecutive sales increases, in a highly competitive industry. These are among the best increases in the QSR industry.
Hungry Howie’s has signed up nearly a quarter million fans by the third campaign, and the social media messaging was shared by more than 2 million viewers. Nearly a million dollars has been donated to help women detect and prevent cancer so far. The campaign has become a commitment and part of the culture of the organization for years to come.
COMPOUNDING INCREASES FOR 25 STRAIGHT QUARTERS
Since partnering with Howie’s, they’ve experienced an exciting 25 consecutive quarters of same store increases, creating 25% growth in the first four years of the campaign. Today, Hungry Howie’s is neck-and-neck with Little Caesars for the fastest-growing pizza stores in the industry. The greatest annual increases were in October, and they were attributed to the pink box. In one consumer study, the chain’s support of breast cancer as a cause ranked higher in importance than Howie’s signature “flavored crust.”