Pizza Hut, Saga, HMV: 5 things that mattered this week and why

From HMV’s administration woes to new campaigns from Pizza Hut and Saga, catch up with all the major marketing news this week.

Pizza Hut broadens appeal to avoid casual-dining sector struggle

Pizza Hut is well-known for its restaurants but the chain is on a mission to become just as famous for delivery.

To kickstart this it has launched a new brand-platform, Pizza Hut Delivery, with a funny campaign video that takes a not-so-subtle swipe at rival Domino’s.

Despite never mentioning its competitor by name, the star of the ad compares offers at “rivals” while a trail of blue dominoes falls in the background.

“At the end of the day we sell pizza and that’s entertaining so our goal is to not take ourselves too seriously and have some fun in the space”,  Beverley D’Cruz, sales and marketing director at Pizza Hut Europe and UK told Marketing Week.

2018 was filled with struggling restaurants so upping focus on delivery is a good move from Pizza Hut. The playful rivalry with Domino’s will likely go down well with consumers too.

D’Cruz also discussed the pressure to keep up with food trends. Despite “furious innovation” she was keen to point out that the majority of Pizza Hut customers rarely sway from their standard orders.

Too many brands obsess over the latest millennial craze and forget about why people go to them so it is smart of Pizza Hut to ensure that while keeping up with consumer trends they don’t lose sight of their core base.

READ MORE: Pizza Hut looks to own the pizza delivery space and ‘have some fun’ as it takes swipe at rival

Saga overhauls brand marketing to appeal to today’s over-50s

Saga, the travel and insurance brand for the over-50s, unveiled a new, “more confident” look this week as it looks to cut through an increasingly crowded market.

The brand kicked things off with a TV campaign for its travel business, marking a significantly larger investment in marketing.

‘The World is Waiting to Meet You’ also marks the first time the business has integrated its holidays, cruises and travel insurance products in one campaign. It’s a shrewd move that helps tie up the different aspect of the business, and one that perhaps should have been done long before now.

Insurance customers that are signed up for its membership programme, for example, will be offered advanced access or exclusive deals for Saga holidays and cruise products.

Saga has also taken a bolder stance in its marketing, which is hooked more on the experiences people have while on holiday rather than the destination. The holidays themselves also seem more adventurous, with one spot highlighting a trip to Mongolia that feature locals reminiscing about how they met a Saga customer while she was on her travels.

Saga plans to invest more in its brand this year than ever before in an effort to appeal to a wider audience and increase consideration. By taking a bolder approach like this it has a much better chance of helping people reappraise the brand, as well as boosting consideration among over-50s.

READ MORE: Saga overhauls advertising in bid to become member-led organisation

HMV suffers administration woes (again)

Poor HMV. It must feel like it’s having a nightmarish case of de ja vu after going into administration for the second time last week, six years since it was last plunged into the depths of financial despair.

Now, amidst the tsunami of challenges facing a large number of UK retailers, all it can do is wait in hope to see if a buyer throws it another lifeline.

There will be interest in the almost 100-year-old music and film retailer, no doubt, but not without weighing up whether this is a business actually worth saving.

Financial difficulties aside, which any buyer would almost certainly appease by immediately cutting its store estate, HMV is a retailer that has failed to move with the times and there is a huge brand building job to be done.

HMV is a sad casualty of a world where people are increasingly reluctant to pay for music because it is so readily available at the click of a button and for free – or at least for a very reasonable subscription price.

Meanwhile, sales of DVDs are only on the decline, and people aren’t going into HMV to buy vinyl records when there are so many independent shops that do the job much better.

HMV needs to reinvent itself entirely; it needs to think outside the CD case and give people a reason to actually step in store. Think gigs, signings, Q&As – like specialist shops have been doing for years. But it feels like it might be too little too late.

READ MORE: Brand heritage alone will not be enough to save HMV

Public Health England pushes e-cigarettes

Public Health England anti-smoking campaign

Public Health England is pushing e-cigarettes for the first time with a new campaign video that explicitly shows that using the electronic alternative is better than smoking.

The ‘Smoking Health Harms’ campaign features a video that uses a bell jar experiment to show the difference smoking cigarettes, e-cigarettes and quitting smoking has on lungs.

It is the first time the government agency has pushed e-cigarettes as a category and is an attempt to keep the issue of smoking newsworthy and relevant to consumers – something Sheila Mitchell, director of marketing at Public Health England, admits is a challenge.

She told Marketing Week: “You have to come at it with new news and this year the new news is around the e-cigarette agenda.”

Mitchell, who has just been awarded a CBE for services to public health, says she is constantly thinking about how to ensure campaigns don’t go stale – be that smoking or sugar – when the public largely knows what is good or bad for them.

PHE carry out constant-testing and has found that despite Change4Life being a decade old, the campaign has the highest awareness and trust levels since it started.

It seems PHE is keen to not change anything major soon and this feels like the right decision. Its consistency has given it weight behind issues and means the public not only trust but also recognise its campaigns.

However, there is only so long campaigns can continue to resonate and it will be interesting to see what it’ll do next when that time inevitably comes.

READ MORE: Public Health England on the challenge of keeping the sugar and anti-smoking agendas ‘alive’

Next saved by Christmas

next brand

Profit warnings, store closures, unprecedented levels of discounting: 2018 was an especially tough year for retailers.

Forecasts anticipated a bleak Christmas period too, but there have been signs of festive fruition this week, kickstarted by Next which was the first of the major UK retailers to release its trading results.

Following a “tough” November, a last-minute spike in sales in the three weeks prior to Christmas helped Next increase sales by 1.5% year on year in the final two months of the year.

Unsurprisingly, this was driven by an acceleration in online sales which were up 15.2% while retail sales reported a 9.2% decline compared with the same period last year.

Given Next’s online immaturity – it was incredibly slow to shift to ecommerce compared with other retailers – it is doing incredibly well online. However, the figures only highlight the stark reality of its high street stores which are suffering the same fate as many others.

Next has built enough capacity to increase its online sales by £1.5bn over the next five years so it will be interesting to see whether it makes any sizeable investment in its retail estate, which is starting to look a little bit neglected.

READ MORE: Next benefits from late Christmas shopping but warns on profits

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