Boston Pizza has fun with ‘fanalytics’ for playoff hockey

Who: Boston Pizza, with John St. for strategy and creative; UM for media.

What: “Fanalytics,” a spring/playoffs campaign inspired by the sports world’s embrace of new data and analytics tools to evaluate athletic performance.

When & Where: The campaign is live now until May 22, running across a wide range of media. There are 15-second TV spots, a heavy social component, broadcast integrations and contextual OOH.

Why: “Boston Pizza can be a transcendent experience for die hard and bandwagon fans alike and we wanted to show fans that we’ve done everything we can to make them have the best fan experience,” said Cam Boyd, John St. executive creative director. “That commitment led us to the idea of Fanalytics, the analysis and fine adjustment of the BP playoff experience so fans could perform at peak fan levels they just couldn’t achieve at home.”

Anyone who’s seen the movie Moneyball knows that analytics have been around for years now. But their use—and over-use—remains a polarizing topic among fans of the major sports leagues.

Some say that new ways to measure athletes and crunch the data provides the best tools and metrics to guide rational decision-making, mitigating the shortcomings of human observation (often clouded by emotion), and allowing for maximum output from available resources to optimize performance for individuals and teams. Others say number nerds should shut up, and that plus-minus does too matter.

Either way, Boston Pizza’s playful entry into the sports debate leans toward apps and viewing experiences, imagining Boston Pizza “fanalytics” experts conducting tests with fans to create the best overall experience for customers.

How:  The two TV spots see Boston Pizza customers wearing body suits covered in sensors so the “fanalytics” can carefully evaluate how customers dip their food without looking, and if the viewing experience is better at home or at Boston Pizza.

The theme is extended to social, where people are being asked to share their own “fanalytics” theories, with some of the funniest winning “Fanalytics Research Grants” (Boston Pizza gift cards). Billboards in Edmonton, Toronto and Winnipeg will change depending on if the home team wins or loses.

Sportsnet, the Rogers-owned NHL rights holder, will talk about BP Fanalytics from the studio during broadcasts, and the channel also created a streeter-style video content series. The network’s top hockey announcer, Chris Cuthbert, provides the voiceover for the two TV ads.

“The truth at the heart of our new ‘Fanalytics’ campaign is that watching the game at Boston Pizza is objectively more enjoyable than watching it anywhere else,” said Niels van Oyen, director of marketing programs at Boston Pizza. “Fanalytics gives us a way to highlight the various elements of the BP Sports Bar experience that makes it a best-in-class offering, while speaking the language of sports fans.”

During the pandemic a lot of people got used to watching the playoffs at home, said Boyd. The goal with this campaign was to remind people how much better it is with good food and surrounded by rabid fans.

”In this campaign we’re not just saying ‘you love sports, we have sports, come watch sports,’ we’re demonstrating, in a tongue-in-cheek way, the lengths we’ll go to ensure you have the best playoff fan experience,” said Boyd. “And while that’s played in a fun and satirical way in the spots, it’s something inherent in the brand, the experience and the menu.”

Fanalytics on the menu: Aside from the advertising, Boston Pizza also rolled out a number of new menu options in time for the playoffs.

“And we really did use a fair amount of data and analytics to develop these new items,” said van Oyen. “For example, we know from our consumer research that people tend to gravitate toward shareable appetizers as they watch sports outside of the home with friends and colleagues, rather than ordering a meal to themselves. So we developed new, shareable appetizers that fit this type of dining occasion.”

David Brown