Pizza Hut’s Red Roof: Using Nostalgia To Revitalise A Brand
We don’t need to tell you that Pizza Hut is a huge brand. Founded in 1958 by Dan and Frank Carney, it’s since grown into the largest pizza chain on the planet (location-wise), with more than 18,000 restaurants in operation.
But despite its ‘global food giant’ status, Pizza Hut has arguably been lacking in the branding department in recent years. Especially compared to some of its larger competitors.
Well, perhaps in response to this, they’ve just rolled out a new brand look, harking back to their earlier days with a distinctly nostalgic appeal.
In brief, they’ve dusted off their old logo (previously in use from 1967-1999) and put it back in service.
The new (old) logo still features a serif font, but with a much bolder, more traditional look than the italicised flow of its predecessor. They’ve also added a new slogan: ‘No one outpizzas the hut.’
They’re ticking a lot of boxes with this one: simple shapes, bold typeface, good use of colour.
The logo that was introduced in 2014 (below) had a much different vibe. And, to our eyes at least, it hasn’t aged very well. In fact, a mere five years since its launch and it already looks older than their 1967 logo.
To us, it seems more suited to the late-90s/early-00s than anywhere else. At any rate, the previous logo’s looser, more laid-back, qualities don’t hold up well against many modern brands. But what it lacked has been thoroughly exploited in the rebrand, which takes the logo back to its roots.
There’s a timelessness to Pizza Hut’s older design that transcends fads and trends. And though the newly released updated version has only made a slight change (brightening the red of the roof), it’s enough to strike a fine balance between the classic and modern aesthetic.
At the moment there seems to be a growing trend of purposefully nostalgic branding. It wasn’t too long ago that Carlsberg led a campaign attempting to restore their product to its former glory of years past.
A certain advantage, however, that brands such as Pizza Hut and Carlsberg share is that they have a positive and successful history to fall back on. So when a company like Pizza Hut falls on hard times, they have something of a ‘get out of jail free’ card in their ability to dig out old designs and repurpose them for modern times.
It’s a very clever way for a brand to signal to the public that they’ve lost their way and are on a course to correct themselves. And, as we all know, nostalgia is a powerful phenomenon. Tapping into a consumer bias that favours bygone days is a very smart way of differentiating yourself in a saturated market. Especially when a good number of your competitors will be relatively new.
This method could prove especially power for a brand such as Pizza Hut, who have struggled in the shadow of rival Domino’s in recent years.