Papa John’s Pizza unleashed a crowdsourcing campaign that asked its customers to create and submit recipes for interesting new pizzas.
The top three pizzas were then put on the regular menu and finalists had one month to hustle up sales of their pizza creations, mainly through social media and PR. Each finalist pizza had a dedicated Facebook page and Papa John’s site kept track of “like” votes for each of those pizza pages.
The top-selling pizza earned $10,000 for its creator/marketer and $480 worth of free pizza every year for 50 years. I hope they like pizzas!
More than 12,000 submissions flowed in and the company chose 10 semifinalists based on taste, creativity and the quality of the description. Three finalists got $1,000 each for promotion.
More about the finalists:
- Created by: Blair Dial of Springfield, Ill.
- Crust/Sauce: Original Crust with Barbeque Sauce.
- Ingredients: Bacon (double portion), Beef, Ham, Jalapeno Peppers, Onions, Roma Tomatoes, Mozzarella Cheese.
- Inspiration: A pizza that can tackle the Wild West and make you “howl at the moon”.
Cheesy Chicken Cordon Bleu
- Created by: Barbara Hyman of Los Angeles, California.
- Crust/Sauce: Original Crust with Spinach Alfredo Sauce.
- Ingredients: Grilled Chicken, Ham, Onions, Extra Mozzarella Cheese, Three Cheese Blend.
- Inspiration: A Papa John’s twist on a mother and daughter’s cherished chicken cordon bleu recipe.
The Workin’ Fire
- Created by: Kendra Chapman of Ball Ground, Ga.
- Crust/Sauce: Original Crust with Traditional Sauce.
- Ingredients: Jalapeno Peppers, Pepperoni, Spicy Italian Sausage, Mozzarella Cheese, Parmesan/Romano Cheese.
- Inspiration: Created by a firefighter to be the “fire tetrahedron” of pizzas.
The barbecue pizza’s approach was a focus on the product, including an endorsement by a pork producers association. The spicy pizza campaign zeroed in on the person behind the product – the young firefighter. And the Cordon Bleu pizza played up a charitable aspect, he says. Each finalist pizza had a dedicated Facebook page and Papa John’s site kept track of “like” votes for each of those pizza pages.
And the winner was …
Barbara Hyman’s Cheesy Chicken Cordon Bleu. In fact, Hyman’s pizza sales jumped ahead from the start and didn’t relinquish that position for the whole month. Her pizza had sold 108,000 (45 percent of the customer-designed pizzas), the spicy pizza tallied 74,000 (31 percent) sales, and the barbecue pizza snagged 57,000 (24 percent) sales.
In hindsight, Hyman’s site, pitch and pizza had two powerful hooks. One, the Cordon Bleu name was familiar and easy to remember; two, her cause was framed as a way to help animals harmed in the BP oil spill, which had a timely, emotional pull.
The competition offers lessons for any crowdsourcing campaign. Rather than concentrating on higher numbers of social media fans, Hyman intuitively sought out higher engagement – both online and offline. For instance, she made alliances with a local Best Buy store and a group of Southern California Papa John’s franchisees. They helped her promote her pizza and pledged to match her charity donation if she won, boosting the total to $3,000.
During a road trip to Florida, she found people and small businesses near Papa John’s outlets that were willing to distribute flyers for her. The in-person interactions helped her adapt her pitch. For its part, Papa John’s learned how social media fits in as one part of a larger whole.
Could your marketing campaign use crowdsourcing to engage with your customers?