Move over nostalgia, “Newstalgia” just nudged it way onto the marketing trend scene.
Pizza Hut just launched a campaign around the concept of “Newstalgia” as it gives a modern spin to some of its signature branding elements. For example, limited-edition large pizza boxes will now feature QR codes that, when scanned, enable customers to indulge in an augmented-reality version of a classic game: Pac-Man. Players can share their scores of the addictive game on Twitter to be entered to win a custom Pac-Man game cabinet. The pizza purveyor also put out an ad featuring spokesperson Craig Robinson, also known as Darryl from The Office, playing the retro game alongside a few slices of drippy Pizza Hut pizza.
The campaign presents a play on the nostalgia and normcore trends that took over consumer preferences when the pandemic came along. By melting nostalgic elements like familiar faces and childhood games with futuristic features like augmented reality and QR codes, “Newstalgia” comes to life. Brands including Joann and Bush’s Beans have been betting on friendly faces, particularly those of fan favorite The Office, recently, so Pizza Hut’s decision to pair Robinson with comfort food, another pandemic-induced trend, makes sense. Alternately, adding QR codes marks a significant nod to the future, as many brands have recently realized, and topping off with augmented reality gives consumers of today what they want: an escape.
As the competition continues to amplify in Gartner’s Digital IQ Index: Restaurants, brands need to cook up original ways to remain relevant. Trend pairing may be a great gateway into this. Pizza Hut’s gamified pizza boxes presents the old-is-new approach with a twist that other brands looking to tap into the trend in a different way should consider.