A Kantar study of food delivery advertising during February 2-April 11 shows ad spend in the category at $269 million, down just over 5 percent compared to the same time frame in 2019. Despite the modest decline, a handful of food delivery brands actually upped their ad spend during coronavirus.
Kantar’s data show that seven of the ten highest spending food delivery brands increased their year-over-year ad spend. The biggest spender in the category, Domino’s increased its ad spend by 9.7 percent, to $80.1 million, from February 2 to April 11.
What’s more, five of the top ten biggest spenders in the category saw double digit increases in their year-over-year ad spend during the pandemic: Papa John’s saw a 48.3 percent increase, GrubHub saw a 31.8 percent increase, DoorDash saw a 60.2 percent increase, Shipt saw a 68.9 percent increase and Papa Murphy’s saw a 57.1 percent increase.
Though it’s the lowest spender in the category on the list, Freshly saw a whopping triple digit increase in ad spend—774 percent.
Brands that saw a decrease in year-over-year ad spend in the period spanning February 2-April 11 include Little Caesars (-7.5 percent), Pizza Hut (-36.2 percent) and Marco’s Pizza (-11.5 percent).
The pizza chains have created television spots with the pandemic in mind and to highlight their new no-contact pizza preparation and delivery policies. For example, a Papa John’s spot stressed that humans don’t touch its pizzas while a Little Caesars ad displayed how customers can pay for and pick up their pizza via an automated machine.
In addition to safety, another major theme for pizza chains has been solidarity. In employee recruitment ads, Domino’s said it’s looking for extra hands during “these tough times,” while Papa Murphy’s re-purposed an existing spot with the messaging, “We’re in this together.”
To maintain activity, food delivery services like GrubHub and DoorDash are running television ads that urge Americans to support the restaurants they love and have always been there for them.