Super Bowl Sunday's Other Contest: Pizza Delivery

Domino's, Pizza Hut, Papa John's Field New Products, Game-Day Deals, Publicity Grabs

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- The Super Bowl isn't just about ads, or even football. It's the day Domino's, Pizza Hut and Papa John's fight for their share of the pie on the biggest pizza-delivery night of the year. Already the competitors are lining up with new products, game-day deals and plays for free publicity; none are actually advertising on the game.

Domino's is breaking out a new, premium line of pizzas with more-exotic toppings for the Super Bowl.
Domino's is breaking out a new, premium line of pizzas with more-exotic toppings for the Super Bowl.
"This is a day everyone at Domino's Pizza circles on the calendar," Patrick Doyle, president of Domino's USA, said in a statement. "Our stores prepare for the game weeks in advance, because, unlike other days where we might sell a million pizzas, the orders come in a very compressed period of time on Super Bowl Sunday. The phones start to ring about 30 minutes before kickoff and they continue at a frantic pace through halftime."

Domino's expects to sell 1.1 million pizzas this Sunday, or 40% more than usual. The chain is breaking out a new, premium line of pizzas with more-exotic toppings, such as roasted red peppers, and 40% more cheese. Spokeswoman Jenny Fouracre-Petko said the chain decided to launch the line for the Super Bowl, ahead of the ad buy slated for the following week, because "it's always nice to have a new product for the Super Bowl."

Pizza Hut is launching its Tuscani lasagna on the big day.
Pizza Hut is launching its Tuscani lasagna on the big day.
It means Domino's also has the advantage of milking free press as reporters swamp the Super Bowl, making a media buy in the game unnecessary. "We get a lot of media coverage, too," she said. Among the six new pizzas the marketer is offering: Honolulu Hawaiian with Tabasco sauce, Pacific Veggie with spinach and feta, and Buffalo chicken.

Lasagna launch
Pizza Hut, a pre-game advertiser, is launching Tuscani lasagna on the big day. The layers of noodles, ricotta, parmesan and meat sauce amount to three pounds of food for $14.99, plus breadsticks. Pizza Hut plans to get about 2.5 million orders for pizza, pasta and wings on Sunday, a 55% increase from the usual Sunday. The company claims that if every pizza slice sold were laid end to end, the line would stretch halfway across the U.S. About 80% of orders come before halftime, and this year the chain has ordering available by phone, web, text and Facebook.

Papa John's enlisted former Green Bay Packer Desmond Howard to 'invite' consumers to register for a chance to win a 25-cent pizza.
Papa John's enlisted former Green Bay Packer Desmond Howard to 'invite' consumers to register for a chance to win a 25-cent pizza.
Papa John's, the third-largest chain and scrappiest of the bunch, expects to sell about 750,000 pizzas and 1 million chicken wings this Sunday. To mark the occasion, the marketer is introducing honey chipotle sauce for its wings and an "updated" original flavor. The chain is offering one extra-large pizza and 20 wings for $25 on Sunday.

Papa John's is also celebrating its 25th anniversary with a promotion tied to the Super Bowl. The chain enlisted former Green Bay Packer Desmond Howard to "invite" consumers, via a video posted on YouTube, to register for a chance to win a 25-cent pizza -- if the game's initial kickoff is returned for a touchdown.

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