While most of the world has been carefully crafting their social media presence, adjusting filters and choosing emojis, the video game industry has continued to thrive and grow. The industry has taken on new and more traditional vehicles like programs hosted on streaming services and elaborate trade shows to give their rabid fans as much content as they can handle. In this ever growing industry, Pizza Hut has been one of the brands taking gamers as seriously as they take new game release days.
Video games and pizza, is there a better pairing?
Ever since teaming up with Xbox 360 in 2014, Pizza Hut has been an integral brand partner for many gaming-centric initiatives. We partnered with popular gaming group Rooster Teeth and even sold their specially made Rooster Teeth Podcast Pizza on pizzahut.com for a limited time, became the lead sponsor for You Tube based gaming competition Legends of Gaming and were also the proud sponsors of gaming conventions RTX in Austin, TX and PAX East in Boston, MA, where we hosted a #RetroBytes arcade, a throwback oasis where gamers could play classic arcade games.
Pizza Hut was the first topline sponsor for the relatively young gaming and internet culture convention RTX, which only had 500 attendees their first year. Now in its fifth year, RTX 2016 took place in Austin, TX during the first days of July and boasted almost 60,000 eager gamers and internet enthusiasts, many of them dressed in the costumes of their favorite characters. Pizza Hut was more than happy to bring not just the classic games but the food as well with plenty samples of pizza, garlic knots, cookies and brownies for fans who lined up for a taste.
Legends of Gaming is another unique gaming platform with a familiar premise. It’s head to head competition complete with colorful characters, elimination rounds and nail-biting action all centered around some of the best gamers in the country battling each other in some of today’s most popular titles. The cast of this past season boasted 25 million subscribers to their YouTube channels between them and their fans were able to tune into the show to watch them throw down and chow down on pizza during the breaks. The set of the show itself is Pizza Hut branded featuring The Hut, a gamer-lounge that gives fans the inside scope on all the action. After each intense gaming competition, the show’s host invites the Legends to relax, refuel, and regroup in The Hut.
As momentum continues to build, Pizza Hut continues to find new ways to place ourselves front and center as the go to solution for the hungry gamer. We’ll be there doling out the snacks at the upcoming PAX Prime, a festival that focuses on computer and board games and celebrates gaming culture in Seattle, WA. We will also continue a fruitful partnership with IGN, a San Francisco based games and entertainment company that runs the popular IGN.com an internet haven for gamers of all types.
There is an increased amount of attention on web video talent so for a group of people who spend most of their time on the internet it makes sense for Pizza Hut to go where the fans are, and the fans are responding. As one of the only non-gaming consumer brands at many of these events, we’ve enjoyed enthusiastic receptions with fans chanting “Pizza Hut” during conventions and an increase in social media mentions whenever we engage. As Doug Terfehr Senior Director of Public Relations put it, “Wherever you are we want to be because when you talk about a sweet spot for the pizza category, it’s definitely gamers and gaming.”