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Blaze Takes Aim at Big Pizza? Good Luck


LeBron James stars in a new ad campaign for Blaze Pizza, of which he's an investor in.

The 341-location Blaze is taking aim at the “big three” pizza competitors in a new ad campaign that pits its new, larger pizza against the same old pizza. 

The company unveiled its new national TV ad created by star agency Zeus Jones at an event in New York City. It features founding investor and star spokesman LeBron James, who reprises his role as “Ron” and delivers pizza around town. It also introduces a new, 14-inch sharable pizza designed for carryout and delivery. It’s a fun video (you can watch below), and watching folks agog at LeBron wandering down the sidewalk with pizza is a smart way to extend the delivery and carryout option for the company. 

But can they really take on big pizza? At first blush it sounds like some marketing nonsense. But Blaze does have a few things going for it in the battle for pizza night market share.  

First, there’s the major trend trend toward high-quality ingredients, unique toppings and a lighter take on a pizza dinner that is at the core of Blaze’s offerings. A survey about food preferences by the International Food Information Council Foundation showed that nearly half of respondents said they want to eat healthier and nearly 40 percent said they were conscious about their long-term health. And nearly 80 percent of respondents said they ate healthier after their doctors told them to start eating better. 

And in the same survey, the IFIC asked respondents to rank their drivers of food and beverage purchases. No. 1 was taste, No. 2 was price and No. 3 was familiarity, which beat out healthfulness at No. 4. Breaking that down, taste is a personal preference, but as folks are trending toward fresher ingredients, this question favors Blaze slightly (though who can turn down any slice?)

As for price, it seems like a slight win for “big pizza." But at $19.95, the build-your-own, non-discounted 14-inch pizza is just $1.50 more than a 14-inch at Domino’s sans promotion. A non-promotional Domino’s order is rare, of course, but a typical order might be a $20 combo for two medium pizzas and a side—inarguably a better deal. 

Healthfulness and familiarity both favor Blaze slightly. People are looking for healthier options but want something familiar, something like a healthier-halo pizza at Blaze. 

So at face value, if a Blaze were as convenient as one of the big chains, it could draw some real traffic. But of course, there’s the tricky issue of scale and technology. At below 400 locations and no delivery driver at a single location, it’s less convenient for even the consumers that can get it. But with more than 6,000 Domino’s locations locations in the U.S. and 16,000 around the world or more than 5,000 Pizza Hut locations in the U.S., even big pizza might tell LeBron and the team good luck. 

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at




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