Pizza Hut Continues 'Newstalgia' Marketing Approach With Book It! T-shirts
Remember when you could earn pizza just for reading a book or two? Those halcyon days of Pizza Hut's "Book It!" program are forever ingrained in millennial and Gen X memories, and the pizza chain is capitalizing on nostalgia once again by releasing special edition food-and-merchandise bundles.
The Book It! Bundle includes two large pizzas and breadsticks. When the first 20,000 customers order from participating restaurants, they'll receive a free Book It! "retro" T-shirt.
Back in October, Pizza Hut teased the return of Book It! merchandise by releasing 5,000 T-shirts, which sold out in just three hours.
"Every time I wear a Book It! T-shirt out of the house, the touching comments I get from total strangers remind me of the power of the program and he passion people have for it," Lindsay Morgan, chief marketing officer for Pizza Hut, said in a press release. "We've got something special with Book It!"
Pizza Hut has been in the nostalgia business for a while now, using merchandise to appeal to attract customers looking to remember the "good old days" while still appealing to younger audiences. Coining the term "newstalgia," Pizza Hut referenced old Pac Man games in restaurants, its classic red cups and its ceiling lamps, while embracing things like augmented reality and modern streetwear fashion.
The Book It! campaign accomplishes that, too, by reintroducing something customers remember fondly from childhood, creating an incentive for ordering Pizza Hut's current menu items, and using a lasting promotional product as the prize.
There's also a nice charity element here. Pizza Hut will donate $1 from the sale of every Book It! Bundle to First Book, a nonprofit organization dedicated to education equity.
“We have supported childhood literacy for 37 years and we’re proud to extend our reach through our partnership with the non-profit organization First Book," Morgan said. "To give the gift of reading to those who need it most is an act we find incredibly rewarding, and to be able to do it simply by ordering pizza makes it a win-win."
And using something as simple as a T-shirt as the catalyst, creating walking billboards for Pizza Hut? That's a win-win-win.