Pizza Hut (NYSE: YUM) is partnering with streaming service Hulu for a new type of in-context advertising that will let viewers order food directly from a commercial on the screen. The digital service will connect Pizza Hut's online ordering system to Hulu's interactive advertising system.
Mike Hopkins, Hulu CEO, explained the Pizza Hut ad campaign at Hulu's annual presentation for advertisers in New York on Wednesday. He called the ad an "in-stream purchase unit" and said other retailers and brands could use the product to initiate product sales in the future.
Hulu plans to support the interactive advertising across platforms, so customers will be able to order a pizza on a desktop, Internet-connected TV, tablet or mobile device. Hulu's free service is currently only available on desktop computers, while its subscriber service, Hulu Plus, works on phones, tablets and other devices. Hulu said it would enable part of its free service on phones this summer.
The in-stream purchase program joins a growing list of innovative digital moves from Pizza Hut. Last year, Pizza Hut introduced its ordering app for Xbox 360 that allows users to order food straight from their gaming console. The company in March also announced it is testing new technology that transforms dinner tables into huge touch screen tablets that allow customers to order and pay for their meal. Customers sit at the table and swipe through the screen just like they would on a tablet or smartphone. The screen allows them to choose the size of their pizzas, toppings, side orders and submit payment when they're done.
Pizza Hut is no stranger to digital innovation. The company was the first in its category to launch an ordering app for the iPhone in 2009. Apps for Android smartphones and the iPad, as well as a revamped mobile Web ordering experience, soon followed.
Digital orders at Pizza Hut have increased 100 percent since 2009. Mobile ordering, the fastest growing division within digital at Pizza Hut, has grown by 4,000 percent in the last three years. In 2013, Pizza Hut surpassed $6 billion in all-time digital sales.
-See this Hulu blog post
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