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Papa John?s touts mobile in TV commercial as digital hits 45pc of revenue

Papa John?s new television ad is the latest example of pizza chains? bullish ambitions to win the mobile ordering space.

The pizza chain has debuted a new TV ad featuring CBS sportscaster Jim Nantz that reinforces the company?s claim to be the first national pizza company offering nationwide online delivery. These kinds of mass-reach marketing campaigns have become common among all of the pizza chains in promoting mobile and digital ordering.

?Quick-service restaurants have been advertising on TV for years, and it?s clearly been effective for them and they understand the medium well,? said Ritesh Bhavnani, founder and chairman at Snipp Interactive Inc., Washington.

?It still remains the largest reach medium out there, and primetime viewing hours just so happen to be prime pizza ordering hours,? he said.

Mr. Bhavnani is not affiliated with Papa John?s. He spoke based on his expertise based on the subject.

Papa John?s did not respond to press inquiries.

Mobile screen time
The 30-second spot features John Schnatter, CEO of Papa John?s, Louisville, KY, delivering a pizza to Mr. Nantz.

The dialogue between the two men explains Papa John?s digital initiatives and a call-to-action at the end of the commercial encourages consumers to enter the promo code ?Stats? at checkout to receive 15 percent off their order.

The promo code will be good through April 7. 

Going for the gut
Papa John?s anticipates that by the end of 2014, 50 percent of revenue will come from Web and mobile ordering, which would make it the first big pizza chain to hit that tipping point.

Both Pizza Hut and Domino?s also continuously see success with digital ordering, with mobile on par with Web in terms of the percentage of digital sales.

In December, Pizza Hut reported that 50 percent of its digital orders come from mobile, but digital in general only makes up one-third of orders (see story).

Similarly, mobile represented 35 percent of Domino?s total digital orders in October (see story) and the chain also reports that 40 percent of sales in the U.S. came from digital in 2013.

Unlike other sectors also dabbling in mobile ordering  ? such as quick-service restaurants ? pizza chains have been relatively successful with mobile because the medium is an extension of Web ordering that all of the big companies were also quick to roll out.

While part of this adoption can be credited to convenience, the pizza chains also have a leg-up over other food verticals because of personalized ordering options.

?Ordering pizza over the phone was always a dicey process ? you had to wait on hold, repeat your order three times, risk the very real chance they got it wrong? Mr. Bhavnani said. ?Digital and mobile ordering is much more convenient, a lot less distracting and much less error prone.?

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York