Pizza Hut rides ‘struggle bus’ with experiential push

    • Pizza Hut is looking to be the “Cure For The Common Struggle” with an experiential bus tour, according to a press release. The “struggle bus” is a term popularized by Gen Z and millennials used to describe the feeling of frustration caused by life’s tasks and challenges. 
    • Pizza Hut’s bus features pizza, lounge areas, beds for power napping, videos and interactive selfie experiences. It will debut at the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four in New Orleans on April 2-3. It will then travel to Athens, Georgia on April 28-29 to support college students during exam season, where the hosts of dating podcast “U UP?” will record a special episode on the bus.
    • Pizza Hut’s struggle bus effort uses a variety of experiential tactics that are once again featured heavily in marketers’ playbooks as consumers have returned to pre-pandemic activities, while also tying in with culture around growing areas of interest like podcasting.

    Pizza Hut’s struggle bus seeks to be the “Cure For The Common Struggle” by giving consumers a respite from daily life with pizza and a variety of experiential activations. The bus tour, which includes stops planned around March Madness and college exams, attempts to connect with consumers during different moments of stress and activity.

    “Since Pizza Hut has always been a favorite comfort food, we jumped at the opportunity to bring this trending sentiment to life,” Pizza Hut CMO Lindsay Morgan said in the press release. “This bus caters to those ‘on their own struggle bus’ and we are thrilled to partner with the hilarious Betches “U UP?” podcast hosts to help consumers find humor in everyday struggles while providing a break from it all, and of course delicious pizzas.”

    The effort demonstrates how the Yum! Brands subsidiary is looking to engage consumers around culture. The “struggle bus” concept is popular with Gen Z and millennial consumers that are key to the brand’s growth, and the tie-up with dating popcast “U UP?,” which is hosted by Betches co-founder Jordana Abraham and comedian Jared Freid, connects the brand with a popular form of content that has seen increased attention since the onset of the pandemic.

    Pizza Hut’s previous efforts around culture have been part of its “Newstalgia” campaign, which seeks to update nostalgia for the brand’s iconic elements for new audiences. The campaign has included AR-powered pizza boxes and a limited-edition capsule collection. “Newstalgia” was launched during the tenure of U.S. CMO George Felix, who departed for Tinder last year and was replaced by Morgan, who was previously director of brand communications.


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