CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- DiGiorno is launching a flatbread pizza by way of TV, print and ... Twitter. The freezer aisle's largest-selling pizza brand is wading into social media for the launch, tapping tweeters with strong followings and offering to provide food for tweetups.
"We've always been out there with a lot of different media touch points, with a combination of online and offline," said Tom Moe, director-marketing for Kraft's DiGiorno brand. "We're always looking for the newest and most relevant places to be in both areas, and we thought this would be a great offer to combine with Twitter."
DiGiorno's new flatbread pizza is a thinner, crispier version of the premium frozen product.
Reaching out to influential tweeters
The brand has tasked PR agency Weber Shandwick with reaching out to influential tweeters willing to host tweetups, or in-person get-togethers prearranged on Twitter, in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. Kraft will deliver DiGiorno to the events and hope attendees spread the word. Just what makes an influential tweeter "is something we're in the process of working out with the folks at Weber," Mr. Moe said. The brand's advertising agencies include DraftFCB, MediaVest and Digitas, all out of Chicago, and AKQA, San Francisco.
"The beauty of the tweetup is it's not necessarily millions of impressions at that point in time," Mr. Moe said. "It's the quality of interaction we're going to have with these folks who are passionate about relevant new news." But that makes for something of a fuzzy return-on-investment measurement. Mr. Moe said Kraft will measure success based on engagement at the event, and how much tweeting and blogging is generated by it.
DiGiorno has been among Kraft Foods' more technologically forward brands. When its popular "DiGiornomics" campaign launched in August, Kraft built accompanying contextual-search ads designed to intercept Yelp and Citysearch users looking for "pizza delivery" and instead offer DiGiorno. That program has been expanded for 2009.
Important role in Kraft turnaround
The brand has played an important role in Kraft's turnaround strategy, and has benefited from increased media spending. Kraft boosted measured media spending for DiGiorno 20% in 2008 to $42 million, according to TNS Media Intelligence. The figures do not include internet or national-spot-radio spending.
The frozen-pizza product has positioned itself as about half the price of delivery pizza while still providing restaurant-quality taste -- thereby putting itself up against some of the most tech-savvy players out there. Pizza Hut, Domino's and Papa John's all have strong online strategies, with Facebook fan bases and a variety of digital-ordering platforms that have boosted customer satisfaction and slashed operational costs.
A TV spot from DraftFCB introduces DiGiorno Crispy Flatbread Pizza with a pizza delivery guy crashing a game-night party and asking for a piece of DiGiorno. "You know we don't deliver anything like this," he says.
Kraft's next onslaught is on sandwich joints. The package-foods company is introducing microwaveable "flatbread melt" sandwiches under the DiGiorno and California Pizza Kitchen brands. With suggested retail prices of $3.49 and $3.19, the frozen sandwiches undercut both Subway's $5 foot-long and Quiznos' $4 torpedo sub.
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