Viral marketing stunts span the range from “solidly clever” to “semi-amusing” to “ugh, you idiots” to “not this crap again.” In general, the public is quick to call out which is which — meaning that the “Hey, I’ve got a sweet viral stunt“-dude in the office can potentially wreck the whole company. It’s a dangerous game.
Unless you’re playing with pizza. Then it’s always going to be a win. Because 1) pizza is awesome and 2) internet users who are full of pepperoni are far less likely to crap all over your scheme. The folks at Pabst Blue Ribbon (makers of beer and Patrick Swayze commercials) seem innately aware of these eternal truths. Rather than letting Facebook fans name their next beer, or giving some lucky fan the reins to their Twitter feed, the company has been low key sending pizzas to people for all of October. That’s it. That’s the whole thing.
“Here is a free pizza.” -PBR.
END OF STUNT.
The move showed up on a Reddit thread called “In Pizza We Crush” in early October. No one really seemed to know who was behind it. Then more free pies started to surface (with the same hashtag and #RandomActsOfPizza) on local PBR Instagram accounts across the country. So far, that seems to be the extent of it. Free pizza to people who want pizza. Eventually, those people might find out PBR was behind it and… buy beer? Or tell their grandkids about the free pizza they got and create a new generation of PBR drinkers? Or the company gets some free advertising through articles like this?
Who’s to say. Marketing in 2016 is an investment in the long game. We do know this, though: “Give away free pizza” should be Chapter 1, Page 1 in every Marketing for the Digital Era textbook.