Boston Pizza embarks on largest ad spend of 2018

The big increase in spend is the result of the chain's evolving menu strategy.
Potato Pizza

Boston Pizza’s new pies may be light on crust, but it’s gone big for the ad campaign promoting the new items.

The restaurant chain’s new campaign, which is centred around television with additional digital and OOH support, is its biggest ad spend of the year. Three ad spots featuring Boston Pizza’s new thin-crust pizzas premiered Saturday on Hockey Night in Canada, and the larger media buy signals a shift in the chain’s overall audience strategy.

Boston Pizza has given more scale to the campaign because the new pizzas are a significant expansion of its offering, Adrian Fuoco, senior director of marketing at Boston Pizza, told MiC. “This is a legacy that’s going to stay on our menu,” he said. “It’s not like this is an in-and-out promotion where we might have done a smaller buy to say, ‘Hey, come check us out for tacos.’”

The ads mainly target millennials and people with young families, and while the bull’s eye is adults age 35 with kids, there is some fluidity to the target itself, said Fuoco. He also noted that although this demographic profile might have been the same 10 years ago, the brand is taking a different approach.

“Our message back then might have been, ‘Hey Dad, come out to Boston Pizza and watch the game.’ And we did well with that. But now the millennial cohort is more interested in the quality of the food. They’re less interested in “Get your indulgence on.’”

In addition to the TV piece, Boston Pizza will use targeted paid social for Instagram and Facebook content, providing a “behind-the-scenes” glimpse into its kitchens, as well as a Toronto-based experiential activation with local foodie influencers, a national giveaway, point-of-sale in-store advertising, an OOH campaign and digital advertising.

The digital strategy is twofold, said Fuoco. The digital programmatic element will aim to boost awareness and support the TV spot, while Facebook ads will be used to facilitate online ordering.

He added that because Boston Pizza is evolving and widening its target demographic, it’s also broadening the media it’s buying against. While he said it’s typical for Boston Pizza to lead with sports, it’s expanding its TV advertisement to conventional and specialty programming that zeroes in on foodies and families – “programs that speak to a broader audience,” he said.

Boston Pizza paired with UM for the media buy and John St. for the creative. The TV and digital will run for six weeks, while the OOH will run for four weeks.