Just in time for the holidays, 100 Canadians will get the gift on their wish lists. It's a name-brand scent. It comes in a little bottle. But it's not Chanel No. 5. It's more like eau de pepperoni.
Pizza Hut Inc. in Canada is releasing a limited edition bottle of Pizza Hut perfume, a social media stunt to reward the fans who have given the brand some digital love, and to advertise the chain's sense of humour.
While a perfume from the Yum Brands Inc.-owned fast food restaurant best known for greasy deep dish may not be fancy enough to make Brad Pitt wax philosophical, as he has done in a recent, rather odd ad campaign for Chanel, Pizza Hut perfume has its own cohort of admirers.
It all started in August, when the social media management team at Yum Brands' ad agency in Canada, Grip Limited, posted on the chain's Facebook page about a hypothetical scent, to have some fun with fans in the social media space. Nearly 2,000 people engaged with the post, either by opening the picture, clicking "like," sharing it on their own pages, or posting a comment. The agency saw an opportunity.
They called an aromachologist. Pizza Hut perfume was born.
"We did a couple of rounds … trying to get the right smell," said Pizza Hut Canada's marketing director, Beverly D'Cruz. "All of them were not fun … Cheese. You'd think cheese smells nice. Not so."
It's all part of a strategy for Yum Brands to put a human face on the brand, and increase its social media reach in Canada – an effort that Grip has stepped up since winning the business in November, 2011.
In September, as the brand passed the 100,000 fan mark, it offered a bottle to the first 100 to send a direct message through Facebook asking for it. They expected roughly 250 responses, since they had done no promotions around it. They received more than 1,000 responses in the first hour.
The bottles are shipping this week. The smell is best described as "fresh dough with a bit of spice."
"It's delicious," said Grip's director of digital strategy, Eric Vieira, who insists that this is not a joke. The bottles will arrive in time for Christmas.
"I hope some poor guy doesn't give it to his girlfriend."