BFY Gen-Z Media Opps: Little Caesars launches campaign to promote new plant-based pepperoni

Little Caesars (LC) recently added plant-based pepperoni to its topping options in order to better serve better-for-you (BFY) and diet-restricted consumers. The company's "Planteroni Pizza" is the first-ever plant-based pepperoni pizza sold by a national chain. For now, it's available online and in test physical locations in the cities and suburbs of LA, NYC, Miami, San Fran and Detroit. The pizza is reportedly not only healthy but boasts an authentic, bold, natural pepperoni taste.

Of course, LC is supporting this launch with a new campaign across digital video, social, influencer and retail chains. The marketing campaign was developed by 160over90, the AOR for Greenleaf Foods, the meatless product company through which LC was able to make these new pizzas.

Since the beginning of 2021, iSpot reports this pizza chain has allocated roughly $69.4m toward national TV commercials, up 4% from the roughly $66.7m it allocated within the same 2020 timeframe. LC ended up allocating roughly $122m toward this channel last year, up 17% from the roughly $104m it allocated in 2019. The company's 2021 commercials have targeted a wide but male-skewed audience through shows such as NFL Football, NBA Basketball, the 2021 Daytona 500, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Last Man Standing

According to Pathmatics, LC has spent approximately $8.4m on digital ads YTD, a 71% increase from the approximately $4.9m it had spent by this point last year. The company's estimated full-year 2020 spend almost doubled to $11m from that of $5.8m in 2019. So far this year, LC has earned around 1.2b digital impressions via Facebook (42%), Instagram (19%), desktop video (16%), desktop display (7%) and Twitter (6%) ads. Most (79%) of this year's desktop video ads have been YouTube videos. LC also invests a bit in Hulu ads.

LC hired digital marketing director Carly Keidelin May 2021, which makes me conclude its digital spend won't slow down anytime soon.

Additionally, Magellan reveals the company has aired 14 podcast ads within the past 12 months.

Right now, LC is primarily using Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Hulu and podcast advertising to target Gen-Z. Remember, its TV commercials have a male-oriented target demographic. I have tagged each of the aforementioned areas in which consumers can buy the new pizza from brick-and-mortars in case LC is advertising these options locally. Per Kantar data, LC also invests in OOH, print (newspapers), radio and local broadcast, but its overall spend in these channels is gradually dropping.

Agency & martech readers - Enough time has passed since McKinney won the company's creative remit in November 2019 that I doubt you still have a shot at work. Horizon Media has been LC's media AOR since 2012.