Little Caesars introduces Nuts Von Crazy character to promote stuffed crazy bread
Little Caesars is taking a mockumentary approach to promote its limited-time stuffed crazy bread, with footage meant to look like it was shot decades before COVID-19.
Along with its retro styling, the Nuts Von Crazy campaign stands out from other new creative work hitting the market as it includes imagery such as crowds gathered at events. Those types of scenes have been missing from the coronavirus pandemic marketing of recent months, including the “Pizza! Pizza!” chain’s own spots about its hot ovens and no-contact delivery.
Stuffed crazy bread is Little Caesars’ second product to launch during the pandemic, following Pepperoni Cheeser! Cheeser! pizza. The chain debated whether to add new items during the pandemic but ultimately decided to do so because it saw pent-up demand.
“There’s a lot of people at home and they're running out of ideas for dinner,” says Jeff Klein, senior VP of global marketing, Little Caesars.
The 80s-style clips were turned into a series of videos including a 15-second TV commercial, a longer “Nutsumentary” and some other videos for online. Peter Livolsi and Martin Dix, a pair of directors from The Corner Shop known together as Peter Martin, directed the work for creative agency McKinney. The ad shoot wrapped on March 12 in Vancouver and then the team from McKinney headed to Los Angeles to get a jump on post-production, Klein recalls. Then, after editing work was done, the chain waited for what felt like the right time for the ads to appear.
“We think that we’re moving at the speed of the consumer and people are ready to laugh a little and enjoy some new content,” says Klein.
The pizza category has been popular during COVID-19, with Little Caesars seeing demand for delivery, which it introduced nationally this year with a Super Bowl spot. Now, there’s a little bit of “pizza fatigue” in the market and the category “needs some excitement,” Klein says. Little Caesars plans to introduce more new items after stuffed crazy bread, which is a cheese-filled version of its crazy bread breadsticks. Market-leader Domino’s has said it still plans to launch an item this summer as well.
The team knew it wanted to capture extra content and grabbed those shots, such as the daredevil telling “extra cheesy jokes,” on set. “We felt like there was more to this character,” says Klein.
The inspiration for the product dates back to 2019, when Klein was touring and training after joining Little Caesars. He saw stuffed crazy bread on the menu in Canada, came back to the U.S. and asked why it wasn’t sold in the chain’s home market.
After working out some operational needs, such as securing the necessary cheese supply, it has arrived as a limited-time U.S. item. Klein suspects it will get a more permanent spot on the menu, but that depends on whether consumer demand for the $3.49 product drives incremental sales. “It’s not a win if consumers shift from other sides to this,” Klein says.
A second part of the Nuts Von Crazy campaign is set to come out in July, Klein says. Little Caesars also plans to surprise some fans with items related to the campaign.