- Nestle’s DiGiorno took to Twitter last week to criticize competitor Papa John’s slipping sales, according to CNBC.
- Papa John’s founder, John Schnatter, blamed his company’s falling sales on athletes kneeling during the national anthem at National Football League games (Papa John's is the official pizza company of the NFL).
- DiGiorno touted its increasing sales in multiple tweets, along with “Better Pizza. Better Sales,” a clear dig at Papa John’s, whose famous tagline is “Better Ingredients. Better Pizza.”
There is another celebrity Twitter battle afoot, and this time, it’s between rival pizza companies. This fight has been decidedly one-sided, as Papa John’s appears to have replied to DiGiorno’s posts just twice. First, with a bio update that included: "Frozen pizza = the pizza equivalent of a participation trophy.” Then, as of Sunday night, Papa John's changed its Twitter bio to “Better Ingredients. Better Pizza. Better Tweets.”
DiGiorno, on the other hand, has reveled in the self-described petty attacks on Papa John's. Followers of the frozen pizza maker appear to be responding positively to the message with many liking the tweets and posting that they’re now buying DiGiorno as a result of its Twitter page content.
The fact that this social media pizza battle is drawing so much attention could make it a solid win for DiGiorno. The Nestle-owned brand is likely targeting millennial consumers with these tweets. Not only are these younger customers more likely to be active on Twitter, they also are responding positively to the snarky posts.
Older consumers may be turned off by the tweets, but then again, they’re likely not checking Twitter. The social media attack is a smart move for DiGiorno to help coax younger consumers into buying frozen pizza rather than get one delivered.
As DiGiorno’s Twitter feed has shown, the attention it's receiving has resulted in new interest from highly coveted younger consumers. It’s unclear if these are pizza lovers who already liked the brand or are delivery converts. This demographic has a strong interest in fresh and healthy food, which are not strong selling points for the pizza maker. This makes millennials’ new attraction to DiGiorno all the more impressive.
Some may criticize DiGiorno for publicly bashing a competitor. But those who would be turned off by the assault on Papa John’s are likely not engaging with the company on Twitter.
This is far from the first time a food or beverage company has had a public battle with a competitor. Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have famously duked it out for more than one hundred years, leading to successes like The Pepsi Challenge, and losses, such as New Coke.
It is interesting that it’s DiGiorno, a grocery brand, which has chosen to take on Papa John’s, a restaurant chain. One might expect a competitor like Pizza Hut or Domino's to be the more likely aggravator. DiGiorno has succeeded in getting the public’s attention. The question now is if they can keep it and whether the buzz will translate to a long-term bump in sales.