TRUE ORIGINS OF PIZZA

Short List
TitleTRUE ORIGINS OF PIZZA
ClientMR. PIZZA
Product/ServicePIZZA RESTAURANT
CategoryA01. Best Fictional Program, Series or Film where a client has successfully created a drama, comedy or mi
EntrantADDICT MEDIA FILMS Seoul , SOUTH KOREA
Entrant Company:ADDICT MEDIA FILMS Seoul, SOUTH KOREA
Contributing Company:ADDICT MEDIA FILMS Seoul, SOUTH KOREA
Contributing Company:SS+K New York, USA

The Campaign

Bigger than Dominoes and Pizza Hut, Mr Pizza is Korea's largest pizza chain and it had plans to further expand to the US market. But how does the Korean pizza chain break into a market that already knows a thing or two about pizza? Our campaign targeted duel audiences in both the United States and Korea. Companies are experimenting with branded content in the US, but often in an overt way, clearly marking the content as marketing material. As our brand wasn’t established in the US yet, we wanted to tell an entertaining story first and foremost, and let consumers discover the brand’s involvement in a natural way. On the other hand, branded content is not yet a common marketing approach in Korea; especially content that uses sophisticated storytelling with subtle brand involvement. We had an opportunity to surprise our audience in Korea, where this category is dominated by retail ads, featuring product shots and smiling celebrities.

Results

Mr Pizza is Korea’s largest pizza chain, and it had plans to further expand into the US market. Our aim was to generate awareness and buzz with a US audience that had never heard of the brand or likely ever considered a pizza company from Asia. We also wanted to leverage any buzz and excitement around the brand in America to improve the chain’s progressive image back in Korea. We decided to create a sophisticated satirical campaign that would amuse and entertain audiences in both the US and Korea, and an integrated social ecosystem to engage viewers in the story across multiple touch points. Our online documentary explored a made-up theory that pizza was invented in Korea, and stolen by the Italian explorer Marco Polo in the 13th century. To add authenticity, we invented a fake historian, an archaeologist, a food expert, a Buddhist scholar, an ancient folk song, a conspiracy theory blogger, a Chinese ambassador, and we even included the actual CEO of Mr Pizza. Street posters, QR Code stickers and protest signs first drove the audience online. Then our conspiracy theory blogger led the audience to our fake production company and the documentary. Our blogger tweeted in character, reached out to other conspiracy theory blogs and even created an online store selling protest t-shirts. The film was shared widely across Facebook, Twitter and other social sites. It was picked up by news, culture and food sites like the Wall St. Journal, New York Magazine, Eater, Devour, The Washington Post and the Daily What, as well as International TV news. As views grew and grew, the debate in the comments section of YouTube became fierce, and the documentary was independently translated into Japanese and Chinese, and spread even further.

The video was picked up and independently translated to several languages. Hundred of blogs and new sties cover the story, including the Wall Street Journal and international TV News. A sociologist at the Victoria University even wrote a nine thousand word piece analyzing the documentary. Slow but surely people begin to realize the conspiracy was a satire. The piece was viewed over 2.2 million times, earned two million dollars of unpaid media and gave the clients 1600% return on their investment.

The documentary went viral, clocking up 2.2m views. It was praised for its sophisticated satirical approach and attention to detail, a rarity in this category. News, food and culture blogs covered the story, as well as mainstream newspapers and TV news. A sociologist at Victoria University wrote a 9,000-word piece analysing the cultural nuance and subtext in the campaign, and it’s being featured in a Canadian school textbook. Because the documentary parodied aspects of Korean history and Korea’s sometimes-tense relationship with its neighbours, a huge online debate was started. Thousands of passionate comments and blog posts were made about Korean national identity, disputed history and the role of satire in Korean humour. The campaign earned $2m worth of unpaid media, giving the client a 1600% return on their investment.

Credits

Name Company Position
Kash Sree SS+K Ecd
Mike Yang SS+K Art Director
John S. Park Addict Media Films Director
Yu Hyun Cha Addict Media Films Producer
Paul Spelman SS+K Copy Writer
John Swartz SS+K Director Of Production
Amanda Mccroskery SS+K Director Of Production
Tamera Treu Editor