Pizza Hut Turns to Yahoo to Push Pies

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Pizza Hut Inc. once again is taking to the Internet to raise noise for its new Ultimate Lover's Pizza.

An integrated promotion on Yahoo will support Pizza Hut's offline campaign to drum up sales for its $8.99 medium-size Ultimate Lover's Pizza.

"The thinking was to get exposure to this massive audience and allow their brand to be exposed online in a way they couldn't in other media," said Eric Ronning, executive sales director for Yahoo in New York.

Pizza Hut, part of Tricon Global Restaurants Inc., in April dropped more than 500,000 e-mails to consumers as part of a $70 million multimedia-marketing plug for Twisted Crust, a new pizza surrounded by a breadstick crust.

The goal for Ultimate Lover's is to push the four flavors -- pepperoni, cheese, meat and vegetarian. The campaign is across the entire Yahoo network.

It began with a Flash advertisement on Yahoo's home page. Once users log on to the page, an animated Ultimate Lover's Pizza floats to the center of the page and is flipped over to the Marketplace section. Users click on the image to see the toppings sprinkle over the pizza.

After that, users can click through to the new site. This microsite ties into the $8.99 Unbeatable Pizzas, Unbelievable Prices ad campaign. Access to the site is gained by clicking on one of three tabs -- "hard sell," "soft sell" and "I only eat cereal."

On the site, visitors can download coupons, mix music, locate stores and get updates on new offers through year-end. They can play an online game of Pepperoni Pong and also get a chance to win free pizza for a year. Residents of metro Columbus, OH, and metro Kansas City, MO, also can order online.

While is a Pizza Hut effort, Yahoo will drive traffic from media placements across other locations apart from the home page. This includes more floating ad units, skyscraper banners, buttons and text links in areas like Yahoo Mail, My Yahoo, Yahoo Calendar and Yahoo Sports.

The Pizza Hut Flash floating unit on Yahoo's home page is unusual for the portal. Only Compaq Computer Corp. and Ford Motor Co. have advertised this way previously.

A team comprising executives from Yahoo, Pizza Hut and the restaurant chain's interactive agency, The Digital Edge, created the online campaign.

"What they asked us to achieve was to bring their brand image online in a unique way and expose it to the amount of people we have on the table," Ronning said.

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