Yes, but even Piggy has a higher profile than Simpson these days and the pizza landscape has changed just a bit since the days of the Cheesy Bites pizza. For one, Papa John's (PZZA - Get Report) is now the NFL's pizza purveyor of choice and has held tight to the league's official pizza sponsorship for a few years now. That means it can give away a free pizza every 46 seconds until the Super Bowl and splatter Super Bowl XLVI logos over its site all it wants while Pizza Hut has to allude to "the big game" and time its $10 pizza promotions just so.
It's also no longer competing against the cardboard crust, plastic gratin cheese and brownish-red marinara that Domino's (DPZ - Get Report) used to crank out before 2010. Since Domino's basically called it formula garbage that year and revamped its pizzas, the company's share price soared to an all-time high of nearly $35 in December.Pizza Hut knows it needs to make a move to preserve or cut a bigger slice of the game-day pie. Papa John's, Pizza Hut and Domino's all see a roughly 50% sales spike on Super Bowl. Pizza Hut, however, sends out 1.7 million pizzas that day, compared with 1.2 million for Domino's and little more than 750,000 for Papa John's. At one point, Pizza Hut thought it would be a good idea to guard the throne and run a $3 million ad during last year's Super Bowl. It pulled out at the last minute, claiming it wanted to focus on pre-game marketing instead. We realize Pizza Hut may be feeling on top of its game right now, Jessica Simpson's on-screen career and Domino's resurgent success are just a few examples of the fickle consumer base it's dealing with. Splurge for that pizza ad while viewers are still hungry for it.