Pizza Hut Asked a Bunch of Old Italian People to Judge Its Pizza

Pizza Hut has just started a major rebranding effort. Headlined the “Flavor of Now,” the campaign aims to give a much-needed boost to Pizza Hut’s U.S. business by wooing customers with dozens of new pizza options. Why have plain crust when you can make that toasted Asiago? Pepperoni is so boring—how about spinach and a drizzle of honey sriracha sauce?

As part of its marketing push, Pizza Hut has rolled out a series of ads by creative agency Deutsch L.A., the same firm that put together those memorable Ronald McDonald ads for Taco Bell. For the new ads, Pizza Hut is taking its new menu all over—to a bingo night in Boring, Maryland; a softball game in Bland, Missouri; and even to Sorrento, Italy.* (And yes, Boring and Bland are real places.)

The best of the lot is probably the one set in Sorrento, where we watch as a bunch of older Italian people express shock, indignation, and just plain confusion at a variety of Pizza Hut’s new pizza offerings. The group also tests out “other new world” things, like mobile ordering, jeggings, and EDM. “Participants were paid, but still don’t like change,” the ad notes in tiny white text.

Sure, Pizza Hut is poking a bit of fun at these people, but it’s also poking some fun at itself. Pizza Hut knows it’s not offering a gourmet product here, and it’s nice to see it embrace that. Then again, Pizza Hut isn’t going all out on the honesty. When Domino’s launched its own turnaround campaign a few years back, it decided to come completely clean. It admitted Domino’s pizza was terrible.

*Correction, Nov. 21, 2014: This post originally implied that Deutsch handled Pizza Hut campaigns in Boring, Bland, and Sorrento. Deutsch is neither that boring nor that bland, and only did the Sorrento ad.