New Pizza Hut Marketing Initiative: Bait-and-Switch
I'm visiting with a friend. Last night about 6 PM he got a jones for Pizza Hut. And he was buying. He looks at this preprint that either came in his mail or his newspaper somewhere between May 31 and June 3. On the preprint are six coupons, each with an expiration date of 6/30/11. There are also three "Daily Specials" listed, for Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. The deal for Mondays reads 2 medium 3 topping pizzas for $6 each. The ad also gives a list of stores in the area. So, we drive to a nearby store, taking the ad with us. The ESL clerk tells us they don't offer that deal anymore; they disco'd it two months ago. We showed him the expiration dates on the coupons. He offers to check in the computer. Nope, deal no good anymore. So, thinking this guy is uninformed, we go to another PH equi-distant to my friend's house. We show the ad to the clerk and ask for the deal. Clerk can't find it in the computer, so he calls a lady out from the back. She tells us they changed the prices three days ago. She offers us another 2 medium pizza deal using a coupon on the ad for more money. Underneath the three panels for the daily specials is some incredibly small type that reads, in part, "Crust availability, prices, participation, delivery areas and charges, and minimum purchase requiements for delivery may vary". So, we calculate the "Daily Special" was good on one and only one day: June 6, 2011.
Since the addresses of both stores were listed in the ad and there is no expiration date for the daily specials, this can legitimately be called bait-and-switch. On the way to a local mom-and-pop pizzeria, we discussed the fact that the clerks seemed oblivious to the ad, even though it must have been plastered all over the immediate area. We couldn't believe they didn't get any phone calls or walk-ins earlier yesterday from people who wanted that offer. We wound up with two excellent Indy pizzas for slightly more than PH's regular prices.
I think we have discussed the fact that these industrial pizza chains have dug themselves a hole by couponing. To get the people addicted to couponing detoxified, they are resorting to bait-and-switch.