Pizza Hut didn’t deliver our pizza, but did deliver a box we got a kick out of
There was one thing missing when Franchise Times invited its fantasy football team members to demonstrate Pizza Hut’s new flick football box: grease. Which, of course, meant there was no pizza.
Franchise Times does not call its employees team members, nor does it officially sanction fantasies at work, but when it comes to market research, the magazine spares no expense. Graphic Designer Joe Veen picked up a flattened box at his neighborhood restaurant when we failed to find a Pizza Hut that delivered to our office, or an employee who knew what we were talking about when we described the box. A week after our futile attempt to score, Joe found the box, which then sat in my office for a week. Friday rolled around and Matt Haskin, FT’s controller pictured far right, was ready to play. I had a lot of work to do, but Matt had just deposited my paycheck in my bank account earlier that day, and I felt I owed him. Joe made the unfortunate decision to take personal time off that day.
“Didn’t he say he used to work for Pizza Hut?” asked Matt.
“And he invented a pizza?” interjected Adam Griepentrog, web guru, pictured left.
“I hope it was pepperoni and he gets a royalty,” I said, ever the consummate franchise professional.
“No, something double decker,” one of them replied, while the other smirked.
Once we had established that Joe had the credentials as a supplier of pizza boxes, Matt and Adam got serious about constructing the field. We called up Danielle Ianiro-Larsen, whose Audience Development job title was perfectly apropos, as a back-up player in case one of the starters got injured. She lasted about five minutes, before asking if it was OK if she went back to work. (That’s her in the black outfit, above.)
“I think we need to put the box together first,” Adam said, eyeing Matt, who is clearly a descendant of Columbus, attempting to sail footballs on a flat surface. It took two of them to assemble the football field, working several minutes to get the goal posts to stand up.
Another chore was punching out the triangle disks from the box that were to be the flicked footballs. We debated long and hard about whether to fold the balls in half to make them thicker or to tear them along the seams and make four footballs. In the end, we followed the directions.
Matt was not impressed with the balls. The ones he used in grade school were thicker, he explained. But, my, how the ones made from a pizza box lid could fly. My job was to chase down footballs.
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While Matt lamented that it wasn’t the same as the game he had played on schoolmates’ desks while the teacher wasn’t looking, Adam decided it needed more challenge. I ran to Joe’s office to confiscate his little Army men which were actually erasers (note to FT staffers, you take personal time off at your own risk). Adam stacked the erasers in front of the goal post, except for the soldier pointing who became the coach on the sideline. It is a bit disconcerting to see little green men pointing guns at you while you attempt to flick cardboard past them, Adam commented.
Meanwhile, Matt was on the Internet (we have free Wi-Fi at FT) looking up how to make the folded paper footballs of his youth. He found a five-minute video demonstration (five minutes to fold a piece of paper into a triangle?) and a 13-step written process. Turns out the 13 steps are actually all the same. Fold a sheet of regulation-size paper in half lengthwise and then keep folding it into triangles. Tuck the extra into the fold. Voila, the football of Matt’s youth.
It was more fun than the cardboard disk and it kept the two men’s attention for another 45 seconds.
Would they ever go to this much trouble if it wasn’t during work hours? Probably not, they agreed. However...“Guys watching football get bored, so I could see playing for money,” Matt said.
“Or you could turn it into a drinking game,” Adam concurred.
And of course, there is that missing ingredient that makes everything more fun: Pizza.