DiGiorno: an America's Hottest Brands Case Study

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Tony Pettinato
DiGiorno continues to deliver strong results by going after big brands such as Domino's and Pizza Hut.

The Kraft-owned frozen-pizza brand has posted eight consecutive quarters of sales gains, but has stepped on the gas during the recession, increasing marketing support and driving innovation. And it's paying off. For the last two quarters, DiGiorno sales have soared more than 20%.

"DiGiorno has been having a fantastic year," said Tom Moe, director-marketing for DiGiorno. "We've had a fantastic year for several reasons, but two in particular: 1. innovation, and 2. marketing."

This year DiGiorno has continued to push DiGiornonomics, the campaign which pits its price-value proposition against that of delivery. Ad buys and event sponsorships underscore the brand's determination to woo sports fans, and become more of a game-time staple.

"We were one of the first brands to come out and talk about the value proposition of frozen vs. delivery," Mr. Moe said, adding that DiGiorno's value equation "has been compelling for consumers."

Tom Moe
Tom Moe, director-marketing, DiGiorno
The DiGiorno team has also launched a series of new products, aimed at competitors in delivery and fast food, and breaking down negative perceptions about frozen pizza. DiGiorno launched a crispy flatbread pizza with chicken and bell peppers last spring, to compete with the increasingly popular restaurant variety. Seeing Subway's success with sandwiches, the brand launched DiGiorno Melts in May, safely under the $5 footlong benchmark at $3.49. This fall DiGiorno launched Ultimate Toppings pizzas, with the insight that consumers perceived a difference in toppings between delivery and frozen pizzas. DiGiorno's new Ultimate Pepperoni, for instance, now has 50% more pepperoni.

The brand has also bravely waded into social media during 2009, leaning heavily on Twitter for the DiGiorno melt launch in April, hosting Tweetups in select major cities, and then asking followers to vote on which American city should get a DiGiorno party. Milwaukee was the winner.

These gains would not have been possible without quantum improvements in quality back in the mid-1990s. As of 1995, Mr. Moe said, "quality was definitely questionable." But Kraft made great strides in crust that year, with the result that DiGiorno "definitely rivaled delivery" by 1996.

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