The NFL season is officially back in action, and Pizza Hut has wasted no time in capitalizing on America’s love of football.

On Sunday, the pizza category leader hosted “The World’s Greatest Pizza Party” in New York City’s Times Square, complete with Pizza Hut team members serving up nearly 5,500 free slices of cheese or pepperoni pizza from the brand’s Mobile Kitchen.

The brand also attempted to set the world record for most pizza sliced in a New York Minute. Though it takes up to six months to confirm a world record, “we know what the existing record is, so we’ll know,” says Doug Terfehr, director of public relations.

In addition, Pizza Hut tied the promotion into social media by inviting fans to submit photos of their own pizza parties using the hashtag #WorldsGreatestPizzaParty for a chance to win a celebration catered by Pizza Hut.

Considering that the brand dishes out more than 8 million slices of pizza on any given football Sunday, a football-focused promotion was a natural fit for the brand, Terfehr says.

“We know that our pizza’s in more households than any other pizza in the world, because we have so many different restaurants and options,” Terfehr says. “What better way to kick that off and celebrate the return of football than with the world’s greatest pizza party in New York?”

Because the Super Bowl will be hosted in New York this year, the brand thought it fitting to kick off the season in the Big Apple, Terfehr says.

He says the brand’s visibility through its media partners, such as "FOX NFL Sunday," gives the brand a significant presence when it comes to football fans. “We know we’re going to be very visible to them,” he says, “but this is a way for us to kind of have a big visual with our product built into them talking about different promotions we’re running or deals we’re having.”

Terfehr says the natural link between the brand’s core product and football fans gives it a major leg up. “If you’re having people over and you’re ready to kind of kick off the season and watch football, then pizza’s a great product to have,” he says. “People kind of gather around it when it shows up. We think it definitely separates us and gives us kind of a unique position.”

And because football has expanded to so many days of the week—Sunday, Monday, and Thursday—the brand has even more opportunities to encourage fans to buy its products. Every Monday through Thursday, Pizza Hut is offering one-topping large pizzas for $6.55 to offer value and capitalize on the extended football season.

“Football and pizza kind of go hand-in-hand. They’re like hotdogs and baseball,” Terfehr says. “So as we look at the whole season and kind of hook-ending it back to New York City, our fans and fans of football can expect more from us throughout the season and kind of culminating when everyone’s back here in New York.”

By Mary Avant

Marketing & Promotions, News, Pizza, Pizza Hut