Mr. Pizza is Korea’s largest pizza chain, and it had plans to further expand into the US market. But how does a Korean pizza chain break into a market that already knows a thing or two about pizza?
The insight: No American would believe that Koreans could make a good pizza, unless they discovered it on their own.
Americans are serious about their pizza. Even though pizza may have clear Italian ties, Americans believe that they have perfected the slice. Americans would not believe a traditional marketing campaign expounding the virtues of a Korean pie…unless they discovered the secret for themselves.
We decided to become the authority on the subject…by starting a conspiracy.The film worked. It drew in audiences from around the world. As users and audiences did additional research, they found the story unfolding in front of their eyes, with different points of entry to establish the True Origins of Pizza as a true 360-degree idea. To add further legitimacy, we also targeted Korean culture bloggers and academics that would be likely to stir up conversation around the intricacies of the story.
True Origins of Pizza not only fooled audiences into thinking pizza was in fact invented in Korea; the story also struck a nerve of heated rivalries between Asian nations that helped trigger mass responses to the story.
The documentary went viral, clocking up 2.2 million views. It was immediately shared widely across social networks, was picked up by food, culture and news sites like Eater as well as mainstream media like the Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. Cultural nuances in the documentary ensured that it even became fodder for academics; a sociologist at Victoria University even wrote a 9000-word piece analyzing the cultural nuance and subtext in the campaign, and it’s also being featured in a Canadian school textbook. It was praised for its sophisticated satirical approach and attention to detail, a rarity in this category.
It was even independently translated by viewers into Japanese, Chinese and Croatian and spread even further. The campaign earned 2 million dollars worth of unpaid media, giving the client a 1600 percent return on their investment. More importantly, however, the Mr. Pizza campaign accomplished the impossible – gave Korean pizza a legitimate spot on the American plate.