YUM RESTAURANTS INTERNATIONAL Dubai, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
When Earth Hour was first conceived in 2007, household lighting was a significant portion of global energy consumption and turning off the lights back then actually made an impact. But whilst our daily energy consumption habits have changed, how brands participate in the event has not evolved.
Pizza Hut wanted to show its commitment to climate action by participating in Earth Hour but evolve it to be more effective, relevant and compelling to our young, tech-savvy, target audience. Instead of eating pizza in the dark, we wanted to encourage participation in a more impactful way, to save more energy than switching off the lights.
Describe the creative idea
We found that data centres and mobile networks consume more energy than household lighting, however, during Earth Hour, people tend to switch off their lights and turn to their phones. Even the Earth Hour organization hosted live streams and online events to provide entertainment, but this wasn’t really saving energy. In the US alone, the networks and data centres that power social media, messaging services and stream video consume 8 billion kWh more than household lighting. So, instead of turning off the lights, we convinced people to go offline.
We created a unique mobile website that only works without WiFi or data connection. Using a little bit of internet sorcery and an offer of free pizza, we incentivised them to stay offline. Disconnecting for an entire hour to receive a free pizza, consumers were able to save up to 12% more energy than switching off the lights.
Describe the strategy
With every brand riding the Earth Hour wave since 2007, our biggest opportunity was not to simply take part, but to evolve Earth Hour participation and lead a new movement inspired by our young, tech-savvy, Gen Z consumer (Pizza Hut’s core audience).
Our research showed that 77% of Gen Z would turn to their mobiles once the lights were switched off. From sacrificing lights to sacrificing their mobile data, Pizza Hut was on a mission to create a meaningful impact towards its “recipe for good” ambition: taking real climate action to reduce overall emissions in line with the WWF Paris Agreement.
We know the young are highly engaged when it comes to social and environmental issues. From an inconvenient truth, we used a mobile website to create a simple and easy way to distinctively connect with and educate our target market, supporting something that is important to them and us.
Describe the execution
Through digital banners and social media posts (promoted and organic) leading up to Earth Hour, Pizza Hut directed people to visit a simple microsite, www.offlinehour.me, where they were challenged to turn off WiFi or switch to Airplane Mode to win free pizza.
Special coding detected whether users had an active internet connection or not. Content was preloaded into the browser's cache before people were prompted to switch off their WiFi and/or data.
Once people went dark, a countdown timer appeared on the page along with stats, facts and figures about internet and data centre energy consumption to educate the participants. Reconnecting to WiFi or data would cause the timer to stop and prompt users to go back offline. If they completed an entire hour offline, a pizza was coming their way. The entire campaign was executed and rolled out, on a budget, across two markets, the UAE and Oman.
List the results
Because we knew people would do anything for the love of pizza, over 10,000 consumers across the Middle East logged on to our mobile website, during Earth Hour, to take part in our Offline Hour challenge.
As a result, our audience spent more than 3,200 combined hours offline during Earth Hour, for the love of pizza and the planet.
In total, through our website, banners, social media and post-campaign PR activity, we reached and educated over 7.4 million people in a new way to save the planet.
Pizza Hut also data captured over 2,000 pizza and planet-loving consumers.