The pizza-scented fragrance is the result of a social engagement strategy led by creative and digital agency Grip Limited. It was concocted after Pizza Hut’s community managers posted a joke to Facebook last August about bottling the smell of fresh-made pizza. Fans reacted with such joy that the post garnered the month’s highest engagement rate, and within half an hour “a few thousand people” had responded saying they’d like a bottle, according to Grip’s managing director of digital, Adam Luck.
One hundred of those fans will soon receive their pizza-perfume in the mail.
“We wanted to provide a tangible experience that shows how much we appreciate their involvement,” said Grip’s director of business, Eric Vieira. “It was a matter of being socially active with our community. We thought it would be fun.”
Vieira added that Pizza Hut’s Facebook page has seen a 548 % engagement rate increase over the past five months, a number he attributes to quirky campaigns and authentic communication between fans and the page’s community managers.
“We want our consumers and fans to have really positive experiences with the brand,” said Vieira. “In the case of the perfume, we’re going above and beyond what the consumer’s expectations are, so that they’re having a positive experience and then other people see them having a positive experience. That generates a lot of word-of-mouth.”
Grip also works with KFC and Taco Bell (which, like Pizza Hut, are owned by Yum Brands). The agency recently carried out Pizza Hut’s “hot dog-stuffed-pizza” concept, and used Facebook to invite people to try it for free.
Luck mentioned another benefit to having an actively excited Facebook community: it can offset any negative comments that might be posted to the Facebook page. “We’re trying to create a positive experience for anyone who may have gone there to voice a complaint,” he said.
As for the scent itself, Luck said “it smells like dough with a little bit of seasoning added.” Pizza Hut’s director of marketing, Beverley D’Cruz, noted that the perfume is more about entertainment than aroma. “We discovered it was hard to match the smell of freshly baked bread, but it smells somewhat close,” she said, adding that one could also spray the perfume around a room to make it smell like pizza.
“It was about letting consumers know that we do take them seriously,” said D’Cruz. “And having some fun. That’s what pizza’s all about.”