Much of the content of this Washington Post report on the diverging fortunes of delivery pizza giants Domino's and Pizza Hut—the former is thriving, the latter not s'much—passes harmlessly overhead, as remote and incomprehensible as solar wind washing harmlessly over the Earth's magnetic field. Domino's has a successful mobile app for ordering pizzas; Pizza Hut doesn't. Domino's ran a successful campaign promoting its improved ingredients; Pizza Hut may or may not have commercials, but nobody knows, because they're not memorable or good. Domino's leverage brand disruption social mobile something something, and Pizza Hut didn't, probably. Whatever.
Then there's this tidbit, about halfway down:
Yum says it is working hard to turn around the poor performance at Pizza Hut, not only by strengthening its digital offerings but by overhauling its marketing efforts and debuting new menu items that will connect with millennial diners. The company said it recently "had good success" with the debut of its Hershey cookie dessert offering and its bacon and cheese stuffed crust pizza.
This sort of "our brand must connect with the millennials" talk is never not funny, just because the notion of some skinny-jeans-and-plaid-shirt-wearin'-ass millennial putting a thoughtful hand to his bushy lumberjack beard, gazing pensively into the middle distance, and going, "You know, I really feel as though this corporate pizza chain's brand strategy speaks to me, a millennial," is just the dumbest of all the images.
"Connect with milliennials" is just some gobbledygook youthful advertising types say so that clueless boomer business executives will nod and go, "Hmm, yes, the millennials, these young advertising whippersnappers will know how to speak the language of the millennials, with all the yo and the wuzzaaaap and the [that thing the boomer dads do where they turn their ballcaps around backward and cross their arms over their chests and pull a mean mug because they get their pop culture cues from a Robin Williams standup routine from 1994]." And then they fork over a bunch of money to go make a pizza commercial with Skrillex music in it or some shit.
Still, though, even if "connect with the millennials" talk tells us nothing about millennials, it tells us plenty about what brands and their exponents think of millennials. And, if the examples Pizza Hut gives of recent successful millennial-targeted brand initiatives—the same ol' giant chocolate-chip cookie you can get from any other shitty pizza chain, distinguished only by its association with a famous purveyor of famously bland chocolate, and a pizza crust stuffed with fucking bacon and cheese—can shed some light on what Pizza Hut thinks of millennials, jeez, man, Pizza Hut thinks millennials are fuggin' boring.
Are they right? Do the millennials feel that bacon-and-cheese-stuffed pizza and garbage chocolate are the right delivery snacks to eat while live-Instagramming their Molly parties or whatever? Maybe so. After all, Yum! Brands (Pizza Hut's parent company) considers these sad offerings "good success." That's kind of disappointing, millennials! Even as bender grub, bacon-and-cheese-stuffed pizza is weak.
Millennials, you have a responsibility to ask more of your garbage-food brands. After all, Yum! Brands is the same company that owns KFC, which famously abandoned all gestures toward good taste or good sense or sanity or dignity years ago, in favor of such baldly ludicrous offerings as a "sandwich" made of two fried chicken breasts with bacon and mayonnaise pinned between them. Can you not demand the same of Pizza Hut? Can you not require it to earn your business, if not the hard way (by making genuinely good food), then at least the hilarious way?
Imagine the possibilities of a truly unhinged Pizza Hut. A "pizza" with a crust made entirely of stretchy cheese, with a thin layer of nacho cheese sauce separating it from the topping layer of bacon and more cheese? A pizza rolled up into a log and deep-fried and you dip it in blue cheese dressing? Sauce and cheese cooked into little baked dough-balls, and you order them by the thousand, and then a remote-controlled attack drone strafes your home and unloads them through your walls via Gatling gun?
Make it happen, millennials! Speak with your wallets! Settle for nothing less than the dumbest possible Pizza Hut offerings. And, someday, please, when you've chased Pizza Hut to the wild outlands of millennial-courting desperation, and the time comes to ralph your stuffed-crust bacon-and-ranch P'Zone root-beer float into your buddy's fedora, for God's sake, post it on YouTube.
Photo via Shutterstock.