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Order Up! Latest Ad Performance of Your Favorite Pizza Restaurants

August 2, 2021

The pandemic has made ordering in food a staple of everyday life and a much-needed convenience when balancing work, school, or family life. By now, many of us have memorized our local pizza restaurant menus and opt for delivery instead of cooking at home.

As the effects of the pandemic begin to ease a bit, we have noticed more pizza restaurants (and QSRs in general) are shifting back to more food-focused messaging and less on mobile order and contactless delivery. Using our industry-leading in-market measurement platform Phoenix Brand Effect, we took a look at the recent advertising of some brands in the pizza category to see which are delivering on top performance.


Domino’s Pizza dominates the category with their throwback ad “Return of the Noid,” which resurfaces a character they created in the 1980s representing the physical embodiment of the challenges in getting a pizza delivered in 30 minutes less. They use their spot also to highlight the (potential) use of Nuro’s R2 self-driving vehicle to deliver the pizzas. While this ad was not the most memorable in terms of recall or branding, it managed to pull the top score in overall performance.

A relatively new entrant to the pizza category and surprising first runner-up is Panera Bread’s campaign for their new flatbread pizza with their ad “Dinner Tonight – Mouthwatering Masterpiece.” The bakery-cafe turned pizza brand had the top score for Brand Linkage, likely due to their messaging focusing on the quality ingredients they use and the care that goes into their pizzas. Panera, well known in the market for their fresh, quality ingredients and for taking a new spin on traditional fast food, kept with their typical branding in this spot, which drove up their Brand Memorability score to give Domino’s a run for their money.

Little Caesars’ clever “Complaint Department” ad grabbed this round’s top score for Ad Memorability. Their humorous ad gives a satirical take on other pizza brands’ lackluster customer service and tells the viewer that Little Caesars actually listens to their customers by bringing back their pretzel crust pizza. But, unfortunately, even though they managed to integrate the ad’s main story with the product they are featuring, the ad’s lack of brand cues resulted in low scores Brand Linkage, thus bringing down their overall breakthrough.

Bonus: Throwing out an honorable mention to Marco’s Pizza’s clever “Hot & Steamy” ad for no other reason than the fact that it made us LOL at our desks; we love a good double entendre.

For additional insights and information into the why’s behind the performance of these ads or for brand-level insights on these ads, drop us a line!



Phoenix Brand Effect is the gold standard for in-market performance and can provide real-world, real-time, in-flight ad measurement to help you establish a baseline for future campaigns. Looking to bridge the gap between pre-market creative development and in-market tracking? Our newly-developed AdPi-Brand Effect Platform offers clients a seamless solution to maximize ad performance using creative diagnostics (AdPi®) to generate forward-looking estimates to understand your creative’s full in-market performance potential (Brand Effect).

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