Pizza Hut's announcement that it is going to "change its name" to Pasta Hut has been praised by marketing experts as a good way of generating interest in the brand.
The Yum Brands owned company issued a statement on Monday suggesting it was going change its name for the first time in its 50-year history, to highlight a number of nutritional changes to its menu and the launch of a new range of pastas.
Pizza Hut, which has already spent £17m this year updating its restaurants, said it will spend a further £100m over the next six years, extend the number of outlets and launch the new, expanded menu.
The story was picked up by most of the national newspapers and industry websites, including Caterersearch, but closer inspection of the facts showed it was more of a marketing exercise.
The rebrand only affects a small number of restaurants and is only for a trial period, while the www.pastahut.co.uk microsite was acquired during September and is registered to Pizza Hut's marketing agency. The company also made the same announcement in the US - on April Fool's Day.
Ben Carter, director at digital marketing agency Evolv, said it was a clever branding move.
"Making a splash through PR and supporting it with a dedicated microsite is a very easy way of generating a story while building consumer momentum to either support or oppose the move," he said.
"That way they can get a flagging brand back on the radar of today's consumer. And by limiting it to a small amount of restaurants, they don't actually need to do anything revolutionary to their business model."
Pizza Hut marketing director Claudia Nicholls-Magielsen admitted that the move was a "bit of a shock tactic" designed to "get people to feel differently about Pizza Hut".
By Daniel Thomas
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