Pizza Hut's recent name-change makes me wonder what sort of mind-warping toppings they are putting on the pizzas at HQ. The UK company are trialling a name-change from Pizza Hut to Pasta Hut, with the same shape logo.
Seems up there as one of the daftest bits of marketing in 2008. Is it a some sort of post-modern spoof? Will they come back in a few weeks and say, "Ha! Just kidding. This was just a way to remind you how great our pizzas are?"
1. If you are going to change, change
The change is too small. They have the same logo, and the same "Hut" idea. Just a change of what's in the hut. Its enough of a change to make the regular customers wonder what's going on, and maybe even piss them off. But not enough of a change to force brand re-appraisal amongst non-users
2. Image-wrapper branding
This looks like a classic example of "image wrapper" branding. Changing the outside of the brand, with no change to the product/service. The only time a logo or name-change really works is when it is a "symbol of change": a way of announcing that the service/product is now truly different and better than before.
3. Waste of resource
What a totally daft way to spend marketing money and creative resource in today's tough times, creating a website and marketing campaign around this!
4. Pizza is a growth market
The bizarre thing is that in credit-crunched Britain, pizza sales are soaring. Domino's Pizza just announced sales up 18%. OK, this is take-home pizza, but surely Pizza Hut is an affordable way for hard-up families to still have a night out?
5. Where's the brand pride?
Why not be proud of pizza? It reeks of being embarrassed about your core product, which sends a terrible signal to your loyal customers, and your employees. What a contrast with McDonald's, who started their turn-around with a confident re-affirmation of being a burger company.
There is a vote on the website when Pizza Hut ask people if this is i) a good idea, ii) a totally stupid idea. No prize for guessing the result: