Truant

London

Reigniting an Icon

Helping PizzaExpress find their place with modern diners.

There aren’t too many brands that can lay claim to transforming a nation’s food culture.

But that is what happened back in 1965 when Peter Boizot brought back tales of hospitality and peasant food from Naples and launched the first PizzaExpress, introducing to the UK the idea of casual dining and transforming the very notion of what a restaurant can be in this country.

But the world has changed a lot in 60 years, and for the past 3 years we’ve been helping PizzaExpress move with the times.

Challenge

PizzaExpress is the original casual dining brand and an iconic presence on the UK scene since its launch in 1965. Yet over 60 years, the game had changed, with new players, new tastes, and a need to maintain growth amongst new audiences.

The brand, although almost universally recognised, had lacked investment and was struggling to find its place in the hearts and minds of modern Britain. Where it had previously been seen as innovative, lively, and creative, it was just as likely these days to be known purely for discounts, date nights and doughballs.

It needed to rediscover the heart and passion that defined its roots.

Insight

We chose to look back to move forward.

Peter Boizot was a raconteur, a lover of people, food, football and music. Everything he did in his colourful life he did for the love of it. His love of pizza saw him launch the PizzaExpress brand, his love of Jazz saw him open a (now historic) jazz club in Soho, and we felt that this spirit, this joie de vivre, had been lost.

We needed to put the fun, the love, and the pizzaz back into Pizza, it’s what Peter’s vision was, it’s what he would have wanted and it’s what modern diners are looking for. There is a variety of good food on the high street these days, so we need to demonstrate that the experience is as every bit as good as the food.

Strategy & Approach

Working with the team at PizzaExpress, we’ve sought to bring the fun back into the brand, to embody it with a distinctly Soho spirit that puts performance above formality and that acknowledges that no one goes for a pizza to have a quiet night out.

In line with that, we have put music - for which PizzaExpress has a phenomenal heritage, having played host to a range of icons over the years from Ella Fitzgerald to Amy Winehouse - at the heart of the brand, giving it tempo and energy, whilst maintaining its position as a more premium pizzeria.

Solution

From launching a new loyalty scheme with David Mitchell, announcing new menu items through special build OOH, and creating buzz around a vegan restaurant and garlic butter lip balm, we’ve taken the brand into some new and unexpected places, putting the fun back into a brand and helping the UK fall back in love with it.

We’ve helped redesign their kids offering with a new range of illustrative characters, we’ve helped define their music strategy, and we’ve helped them reshoot menu items to keep the food looking as brilliant as it tastes.

And we’ve launched a music-first content series as well as helped brand the PizzaExpress Records label, as it released its first 4 albums in 2023.

From advertising, to in-store, we’ve imbued the brand with energy and vibrancy to compete with some of the newer casual dining brands on the block, and to establish ourselves for families as well as mates.

2M
loyalty scheme subscribers to-date
+4%
year on year (‘22 v ‘23) market penetration
Awareness
Outperforming competition
Consideration
Outperforming competition

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Reigniting an Icon

There aren’t too many brands that can lay claim to transforming a nation’s food culture. But that is what happened back in 1965 when Peter Boizot brought back tales of hospitality and peasant food from Naples and launched the first PizzaExpress, introducing to the UK the idea of

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Truant

07775908288 [email protected]