Pizza chain uses Sundance to get noticed
February 23, 2010
The Park City Nick-N-Willy’s set a company record for the most pizzas made by a single franchise. It isn’t surprising considering the store on Bonanza Drive was an official vendor of the Sundance Film Festival.
The company made a deal with the Sundance Institute to feed volunteers for 19 days at the end of January in exchange for about $30,000 worth of advertising and marketing in association with the festival.
There are only two Nick-N-Willy’s in all of Utah (there are 13 Domino’s on the Wasatch Front alone). The company would like to increase brand recognition and entice more people to start a franchise.
"We’ve been looking for a long time to get involved with an event that has national exposure," said CEO Richard Weil. "(The festival’s) popularity and notoriety seemed like a good fit for Nick-N-Willy’s and the brand could be exposed to more than the local market."
While it may take time to see results from the advertising, the impact of putting Nick-N-Willy’s pizza in people’s hands was immediate. Volunteers would come in and tell stories about having the pizza in other states. Local franchise owner Sonia Bernard-McCall said she’s seen more locals in since the festival ended as well.
That’s exactly what Weil was going for: get people thinking about Nick-N-Willy’s. With so much competition, the aim of marketing is brand recognition, he explained.
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It was also important for the local franchise to handle the festival well because "stores sell stores," he said. When an entrepreneur sees a successful franchise, it gets them interested in opening one of their own.
Bernard-McCall said she’s already benefiting from the festival when her staff made 700 pizzas in a little over two weeks. They did it without outside help, too.
"We spent two to three weeks planning," she said. "I have a really good crew and experienced people it was pretty crazy."
As it became apparent they were going to be able to pull it off, it became "quite a bit of fun" to see how much they could put out.
Another big push during the festival was getting "friends," "fans" and "followers" on its social networking sites. They were so intimately involved with the festival people enjoyed reading about it through her staff’s experiences. Now the company has good connections on those sites, she said.
The goal is to keep reminding people about the company.
"I’m always surprised how hard it is to get your name out there and get name recognition," she said. "We want to keep in touch with people and remind them we’re still around."