Upper Crust

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The Memo Consumers think frozen pizza tastes like cardboard. Carryout from the local pizzeria, they believe, will always beat a pie that heats in the oven. How could Kraft change that mind-set with its new product, DiGiorno Rising Crust Pizza?

The Discovery Kraft had to pinpoint why people eat pizza, regardless of whether it's frozen or carryout. SMI-Alcott mailed a survey to 1,000 pizza lovers and asked them about their habits. When did they eat pizza? Could they describe the last two times they had it? Results showed that people ate pizza during fun social occasions or at home, when no one-especially mom-wanted to be stuck in the kitchen. Other activities, maybe a party, a big sports game on TV, or just a quiet night with their mate, were more important than making a five-course meal. People said they mostly ate frozen pizza for convenience, when time was short, but called for delivery for a variety of reasons. They also questioned the quality of frozen pizza, saying it couldn't offer the same taste as carryout.

Focus groups with women ages 25-54, conducted by Loran Marketing Group, supported the findings. Participants said they wanted a frozen pizza with a fresh-baked taste, but so far hadn't found one in the grocery store. Then the groups watched a demonstration of DiGiorno, its crust rising as it baked in the oven. The image clicked-and convinced skeptical consumers that even a frozen pizza could really deliver.

Of course, it had to taste good, too. Product Dynamics ran a series of blind taste tests with consumers to rate DiGiorno against both frozen and carryout pies. No problem there: It scored the highest among frozen brands and placed second to only one carryout product.

The Tactics Ideas for the ad campaign were presented to a group of consumers in a series of interviews. Again, Kraft heard that people wanted a frozen pizza with the taste and crust of carryout. And, these folks added, they'd need proof that DiGiorno was for real before picking it up in the frozen-foods aisle. This insight underscored the need to actually show DiGiorno rising in the oven during the commercials.

Kraft also learned that people had trouble pronouncing 'DiGiorno,' the Italian name chosen to lend authenticity to the product. If they couldn't say it, how would they remember it? A simple solution: Final copy for the TV spots made sure that the brand name was repeated several times.

Millward Brown ran a quantitative copy test as well to measure the effectiveness of the 30-second spots. Roughly 64 percent of respondents recalled the spots' main message, DiGiorno's "fresh-baked taste," whereas the average commercial tested by Millward Brown scored about 24 percent. The ads also generated strong brand identification, with 52 percent recalling the DiGiorno name.

The Payoff Nielsen data shows a steady rise in sales for DiGiorno since its launch in 1996. It now boasts $300 million in revenues, placing it second in its category (Tombstone, another Kraft brand, ranks number one). Brand awareness, according to Millward Brown, has jumped significantly, too-from 23 percent in 1996 to 77 percent last year. And watch out, pizza man: 49 percent of Millward Brown participants say that DiGiorno is a worthy substitute for carryout.

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