Pizza Hut’s newest product may not be edible, but it can still be enjoyed by consumers. To keep loyal fans warm during the winter months, the restaurant brand created a 15 pound, 72-inch blanket that looks exactly like its one of its classic pizza pies.
The Original Pan Pizza weighted blanket includes detailed imagery of melted cheese, pepperoni, and pizza sauce that could keep consumers happy and hungry. The blanket was made in partnership with Gravity Blanket, which specializes in weighted throws. The two brands cooked up a microsite where consumers can purchase the specialty blanket for $150, which is a 25% discount off traditional Gravity Blankets. The appetizing couch accessory is limited-edition and could only be purchased online, where it sold out in a week. With the gift-giving season in full swing and consumers turning to e-commerce for all of their shopping needs, it’s unsurprising that the pan pizza blanket became a hot commodity. The rapid sales could also be attributed to consumer’s leaning into branded merchandise and therefore flocking to Pizza Hut’s microsite to show off their passion for pizza.
Creating a weighted blanket allows Pizza Hut to join the branded merchandise bandwagon that many others have jumped on this year. Pizza Hut joins Mountain Dew, Moe’s Southwest Grill, and Dunkin’ in creating atypical apparel and accessories to feed consumer demand for goods. With consumers staying home during the pandemic, social media has become the go-to outlet for advertising limited-edition items, which Pizza Hut did to announce the arrival of the weighted blanket, followed shortly by posts revealing they were all sold out. By turning to Instagram and Twitter, Pizza Hut could build buzz around the blanket and boost interactions with loyal fans. Announcing product releases on Instagram has been shown to drive increased engagement and foot traffic for restaurant brands, as noted in a Gartner report, so the brand’s marketing efforts could have contributed to how quickly the blankets sold out. Additionally, promoting the weighted blanket on social media allowed Pizza Hut to weigh consumer interest limited-time goods in the event they release more novelty items in the future.
Pizza Hut’s newest product allows it to connect with consumers at-home rather than in its restaurants. By jumping into the branded merchandise trend, Pizza Hut could set in motion future food-related pushes that could grow its connections with homebound consumers and its image as a lifestyle brand.