What do people do when they’re mostly stuck at home? They stream, they game and they eat pizza.
Papa John’s saw double-digit growth in June, with sales up 24% year over year in North America and 5% internationally amid the ongoing pandemic.
In order to deliver that growth, Papa John’s had to, you know, literally deliver that growth. Since COVID-19 began, the pizza brand introduced no-contact delivery and hired more than 20,000 new team members, including thousands of delivery workers.
To staff up fast, Papa John’s did something unlikely during the widespread quarantine – it turned to digital out of home. The brand partnered with Firefly, a startup that places digital ads on top of ride-share vehicles, to advertise to job seekers in cities experiencing high unemployment rates, including San Francisco, Los Angeles and Dallas.
Papa John’s looked to its franchisees in Korea, China, the United Kingdom and New York City as bellwethers for the increased order volumes it could expect to see in the rest of the United States, and correlated that with data from its recruitment tracking system.
“With this data we could see the areas of biggest need from a DMA level and even down to an individual store level,” said Melissa Richards-Person, SVP of brand at Papa John’s. “From there, we were able to say, ‘I think we’re going to need a full-court press to make people aware that, first of all we’re open and an essential service and, secondly, that we’re hiring.’”
Papa John’s targeted audience pockets around gas stations and other QSR restaurants, which were actually still seeing relatively high foot traffic during certain times of the day.
Richards-Person spoke with AdExchanger about how Papa John’s has been approaching product launches, marketing pivots – and headline-grabbing ad boycotts – in the age of the coronavirus.
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