Villa Italian Kitchen is a national pizza chain with more than 200 locations across the United States. Spring is a slow time for email sign-ups, which the chain uses to drive customers to review its individual restaurant locations, leading Villa Italian Kitchen to bring BML Public Relations on board with a goal of improving average store ratings from 4.1 out of 5 stars to 4.3. Its success has won first place in the “Beauty, Fashion or Lifestyle Campaign” category of Ragan’s 2018 PR Daily Awards.
The BMLPR team began by researching the national holidays it might use as a hook for a campaign. It learned that April 13 is National Kissing Day, which led to a unique and unusual fashion-oriented approach: the first ever pizza-flavored lipstick in honor of the holiday.
To get the lipstick, customers would have to sign up for the chain’s emails at its website; winners were drawn from new registrations. The photos produced for the campaign focused on the “Pepperoni Pucker,” designed to appeal to a younger demographic. Press materials announced the new product to lifestyle, features and food writers along with beauty writers.
The biggest challenge turned out to be finding a company to actually make the lipstick. The team found a dozen laboratories up to the task and settled on one. It tested several iterations of the lipstick and its flavoring before settling on a formula that delivered the taste and smell reminiscent of Villa Italian Kitchen pepperoni pizza. They also designed to lipstick tube to place the brand’s logo and the shade name sticker on the tube.
The Pepperoni Pucker was featured in national and local market outlets including Allure.com, Today and more; in all, BMLPR secured 348 stories. The campaign resulted in more than 500 new email registrations, giving rise to an improvement to 4.5 out of 5 stars for individual restaurant reviews, exceeding the client’s original goal.
Congratulations to Michelle LoGuercio, Jennifer Petrella and Nick Gustaitis.