With Pizza Hut beginning its 15th year celebrations in India, we asked marketing head, Sunay Bhasin, about the journey so far, and what lies ahead.
Campaign India (CI): What has changed in your marketing strategy in the past 15 years?
Sunay Bhasin (SB): A lot has changed, but if I were to really capture it in a few words, I would say that when we came into India, we were all about pizzas, and pizzas alone. Today, we are about pizzas and much more. The Indian consumer's expectation from casual dining restaurant has changed (as the economy has progressed and with a change in disposable income and tastes). We had to keep pace with that, and also in keeping with our global strategy.
CI: On being an MNC in India...
SB: In India, we take pride in the fact that we're a global brand with an Indian heart, and we make sure that local tastes are always there on our menu. We are celebrating our 15 years in India, and in a way, this is our way of thanking the Indian consumer. The 15 new pizzas are an inspiration from various cuisines around the country.
CI: Could you tell us a bit about the current marketing campaign that celebrates the 15 years in India?
SB: It's going to be two different situations in the TV campaign (which goes on for six weeks), revolving around how people are recalling rather nostalgically, how they were introduced to their first pizza at Pizza hut. While a lot has changed in the last 15 years in their lives and around them, one thing that remains constant, is the irresistable taste of our pizzas and that's what they come back for. There will also be outdoor, print, social media, digital.
CI: On agency partners in India...
SB: We've had a fabulous partnership with JWT; they were the first agency that we started working with and they continue to be with us today - they've always come up with great campaigns that have always worked well for us. Mindshare too has been with us for a long time, with very rich insights and a very good partnership there as well.
CI: What will be the strategy going forward?
SB: The pizza and restaurant spaces are very competitive. For the pizza delivery space, we have a separate brand called PHD (Pizza Hut Delivery), which competes in the same space as Domino's. On the restaurant side, a lot has changed. People have evolved, and they are quite demanding, in terms of food and experience. Our strategy is about pizzas and much more (including experience).
While Tier I and metros will continue to be a major focus for us, tier II and III cities will also be on our radar, and whenever consumers want us to be there, we will be. Recently we opened a couple of stores in Mangalore and Vizag, and we've added stores in Surat and Ahmedabad. We will focus on wherever there is an opportunity, including metros and tier I towns. We are seeing a strong double digit growth from all across the board.
Client: Pizza Hut
Creative agency: JWT Delhi
Production house: Electric Dreams
Director: Aniruddha Sen
Media agency: Mindshare