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The Hut: A Case Study In Marketing Shallowness

Sometimes, a name change can be refreshing for a company. But mostly, they turn out to just amp up whatever was sucking that instigated the need for such a change.

Example 1: Boston Market. Remember when it used to be called Boston Chicken? I do and it was damn fine chicken. I ate there quite a bit. But something happened and the geniuses running the enterprise had an epiphany: Boston Chicken is just too confining for our aspirations. So they changed the name to Boston Market and the roof caved in. There are Boston Markets still around (there’s one not too far away from my house), but I really have no strong reason to eat there. I could care less what they call the chain, but they have a lot of work to do to erase the last few crappy experiences I had around the time they decided to change their identity.

This leads to Example 2: The Hut. Which “Hut” would this be? This appears to be the idiotic marketing decision du jour from the folks at Yum! Brands. You might recognize them more for their debacles with KFC and Taco Bell. Now, they’re taking their shtick to Pizza Hut by rebranding it as simply The Hut (some locations have already seen the changes).

Here’s what’s troubling about this rebrand. It’s yet another example of shoddy, shallow marketing in an age when this nonsense might only go so far. I think Ruth Mortimer at MarketingWeek sums it up nicely in her post, Pizza Hut’s rebranding is stale:

If Pizza Hut really wants to be a family restaurant for 2009, it needs to stop worrying about its name and start concentrating on marketing the things that matter. Like really pushing its natural ingredients so parents can feel great taking their kids somewhere they can trust at relatively low prices.

“Marketing the things that matter” means actually engaging your customers and speaking with them like you believe they’re smart, intelligent people. Changing your business name is kind of like flailing around, hoping you can still be relevant in the market place. Don’t bedazzle us with bullshit. Give your customers what they want. You want to make me stop ordering from Papa John’s? Don’t change your name, logo, and packaging…give me a quality product that has natural ingredients for my girls and I’ll be a raving fan.

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