How Pizza Hut Canada and Ogilvy scored the year’s first social media win

Fast delivery is one of the imperatives of the pizza business, and Pizza Hut Canada demonstrated its capabilities in that area this week, thanks to an attention-getting tweet poking gentle fun at Ontario Premier Doug Ford.

On Monday, just a few hours after the Premier announced that his government had arrived at what he called a “decisive decision” to put Canada’s largest province into another Covid-induced lockdown, the pizza chain sent out a tweet that included six references to the word “decision.”

#DecisiveDecision quickly become a trending topic on Twitter after Ford’s announcement, as people took to social media to voice their displeasure with his government’s response to the Omicron variant. Pizza Hut’s agency, Ogilvy Canada, saw an opportunity to generate some attention for their client at a time when demand for pizza delivery is expected to skyrocket as restaurants once again close to indoor dining.


“We noticed that the phrase started to trend, and lightbulbs went off,” said Ogilvy’s group creative director, Noah Feferman. “This press conference was all about putting people back in their home for a considerable amount of time, [and] we jumped on it.”

The simple but effective message was developed by the Ogilvy Canada creative team of Allie Keith and Ryan Chiasson. “We were both watching the presser, and Ryan and I were joking around about… the things Ford was saying,” said Keith. “So we were like ‘Wouldn’t it be funny if….'” They immediately thought the resulting tweet would be a perfect fit for Pizza Hut given its “cheeky brand voice,” she said.

The tweet went live at 3:44 p.m., just over four hours after the Premier’s presser. There were no endless revisions, with the agency instead providing the client with a couple of carefully worded options to choose from.

“We know it’s super-important to get [these campaigns] up very quickly,” said Feferman. “The goal was to give them something they could either just press go on, or kill. We didn’t want to get into too much back-and-forth, so they picked one of the options and we were off to the races.”

The resulting tweet garnered coverage from media outlets including Yahoo Canada and the Toronto-based 12:36 newsletter, while Ontario Liberal leader Steven Del Duca also seized on the opportunity to score some easy political points ahead of the upcoming provincial election.

Del Duca tweeted a picture of his family gathered around a Pizza Hut Canada box, accompanied by the message “We made our decision in 30 seconds”—a reference to the amount of time Ford said it took for him to reach his so-called decisive decision.

Politics can be a pizza oven-hot environment for brands to wade into, particularly in today’s highly polarized environment, but Feferman stressed that this wasn’t about Pizza Hut taking sides as much as seizing on a hot-button topic.

“I don’t think this is about the brand taking any political sides… it’s just something that was top of mind and we thought we could have a bit of fun with,” said Feferman.

The tweet was emblematic of the cheaply produced, attention-getting marketing that can work so effectively on social media when done well.

“If you have a brand that has an irreverent or playful tone of voice, there’s an opportunity to respond to cultural moments,” said Feferman. “Because everything moves so quickly, you’ve got to pull that trigger and trust that the brand is able to play in that space. Obviously there are risks associated with it, but thankfully our client trusts us to be able to do these kinds of things.”

And hey, even if there does end up being some blowback, Pizza Hut’s social media team can at least take solace in the fact that things could always be far worse (right, Pabst Blue Ribbon?).

Chris Powell