Little Caesar gains customers on $5 ready to go lunches

Ted MarzilliCEO YouGov Direct
August 08, 2014, 2:22 PM GMT+0

Little Caesars is taking a bigger slice of customers in the pizza wars.

Following its February introduction of the $5 Hot-N-Ready Lunch Combo with an aggressive series of ads throughout the late spring and early summer, Little Caesars is attracting more customers while maintaining higher value perception levels than it first achieved last fall. The brand returned to national advertising in mid-2012, and recently pushed ahead of Domino’s in ad awareness – the percentage of US consumers who recall seeing an advertisement in the last two weeks.

YouGov BrandIndex reported last year on the boost to consumer value perception kicked-off by the big pizza chains’ football season advertising and promotional campaigns targeting football fans.

Little Caesars, more than any other of the big four chains, has maintained that value momentum through this point in 2014. Over the past two months, ads emphasizing the Hot-N-Ready Combos being “ready when you walk in,” whether you’re an office drone or a dad scouting for family dinner, sent the percentage of current Little Caesars customers from 9% in late May March to currently 13%, its highest level in over two years.

That places Little Caesars three percentage points behind Pizza Hut at 16%, while Domino’s, which has seen a mini-surge of its own the past two weeks, recently jumped from 8% to 10%. Papa John’s has held steady throughout 2014, coming in at 7%.

Papa John’s leads the other major pizza brands in ad awareness (44% of US adults recall seeing a Papa John’s advertisement in the past two weeks), just ahead of Pizza Hut (42%), with Little Caesars (35%) recently moving past Domino’s (32%) to take third place.

Domino’s, Little Caesars, Papa John’s and Pizza Hut were measured with three of YouGov BrandIndex’s scores: Current Customer (“Have you made a purchase here in the last 30 days?”); Value ("Does it give good value for what you pay?"), and Ad Awareness ("Which of the following brands have you seen an advertisement for in the past two weeks?"). Respondents were age 18 and over.

YouGov BrandIndex’s Buzz and Value scores range from 100 to -100 and compiled by subtracting negative feedback from positive. A zero score means equal positive and negative feedback. Ad Awareness is expressed a percentage, with a range of zero to 100%.

Value: Pizza Chains

Current Customers: Pizza Chains

Ad Awareness: Pizza Chains