Pizza chains are constantly trying to one-up each other in innovative ways.
Now in time for March Madness in the US, Pizza Hut has laid down the early marker with their new “Pie Tops,” a set of limited-edition high-tops that use geolocation to allow wearers to get pizza delivered to wherever they are.
Just press a special button on the tongue of the sneakers, and they connect with a Pie Tops app that orders pizza for you.
“We loved it,” he said. “This is one of those ideas that as soon as we saw it, we wanted to buy it. It hit everything we wanted to communicate in this window in a fun, really relevant way. And it was beautifully tied to the thematic of the tournament and the season.”
The handmade sneakers are extremely limited edition. Only 64 pairs were made, to match the 64-team field in March Madness, and most of them will go to influencers and people in the media, who can amplify the message. But a few lucky Pizza Hut fans are likely to get some pairs, too.
The broader point is to emphasize how easy it is to order a pizza from Pizza Hut via multiple digital devices and modes.
The shoes ties in to a specific Pizza Hut promotion for March and April—$7.99 for a large two-topping, available for carryout or delivery, but must be accessed online. Pizza Hut has other deals running concurrently, but the online nature of this deal made it a good time to focus on the ease of online ordering.
“As far as we know, this has never been done before,” Daniels says. “We feel it’s highly culturally relevant. Sneakers are hot. We’ve enlisted a really cool professional to design these shoes for us—the Shoe Surgeon out of L.A. These 64 pairs are handmade, and pretty cool.”
So, the sneakers are great for ordering pizza. How good are they in a game of basketball? Can they get a player to actually wear them on the court?
“We haven’t gone that far yet,” Daniels says with a laugh. “Grant Hill (who stars in the ad above) will have a pair, though, and we’ll have to get his take on the performance nature of them on the court, versus ordering pizza.”