The rise of fast-casual: Pita Pit launches its first TVC via Contagion

Pita Pit has launched its first nationwide campaign via a new TVC conceptulised by Contagion, the agency which won the account for the food chain’s cross-Tasman business earlier this year.

The 30-second spot, which was shot by Flying Fish and directed by Helena Brooks, features a middle-aged man, dressed in the garb of a stereotypical accountant, dancing awkwardly after having completed a meal from Pita Pit.        


And although the use of awkward dancing was recently slammed in the Skinny Mobile spotContagion’s managing director Dean Taylor says that the quirky creative execution in Pita Pit’s first spot is designed to relay the company’s point of difference.

“It’s really grounded in good strategy,” says Taylor. “We held various research groups and the key finding was that people didn’t feel good after eating fast food. We’ve all had that ‘instant regret’ moment that comes immediately after eating Burger King or KFC. But this isn’t the case at Pita Pit, where you have casual food that makes you feel good before, during and after eating.”

This insight forms the basis of the campaign, and it has spawned #eatyourselfhappy, which is currently being used across digital, social, radio and in-store.

Taylor says the reason why Pita Pit has decided to launch a TVC at this stage is because the company has become big enough to justify a nationwide campaign. 

Pita Pit first opened its doors in New Zealand seven years ago and, since then, 65 stores have opened nationwide as well as nine more in Australia. The company now has franchises from Invercargill to Whangarei, meaning that the TVC has the potential to generate interest across the country.

A key part of the Pita Pit offering is that it gives customers a range of healthier options, and this pushed in the latter part of the TVC, which focuses on the fresh ingredients that customers can choose from.

The healthy angle is also pushed via the Pita Pit website, which describes the company as “a rapidly expanding, healthy, quick service restaurant franchise that was founded in Canada in 1995 by John Sotiriadis and Nelson Lang with the goal of offering quality, healthy, fresh food – fast.”

“Internationally this is a massive growth segment,” says Taylor. “We live in a ‘better than’ world where people want choices that are just a little bit better than others. Pita Pit is perfectly positioned to satisfy this need.”

Given that Pita Pit is attempting to differentiate itself from the often-maligned fast food industry, it veers away from traditional fast food nomenclature in describing its meals. Instead, the company pushes the health benefits and describes itself as a new “health-food evolutionary chain,” which is “beyond burgers, fries, pizzas, and donuts”.

Internationally, there has been a marked trend toward fast-casual dining options, with Forbes pointing out that brands such as McDonald’s are struggling to stay relevant with millennial consumers, who are starting to turn to the healthier options offered by fast-casual competitors like Chipotle.

According to Forbes, fast-casual restaurant chains, including Five Guys and Corner Bakery Cafe, have multiplied over the past decade from 9,000 to more than 21,000, while McDonald’s locations in the States have hovered around 14,000.   

Although McDonald’s 161 locations throughout New Zealand currently dwarfs Pita Pit’s 65, the fast-casual company’s rapid expansion over the last seven years indicates a growing trend of Kiwis opting for healthier, more diverse lunchtime offers—and this point is reiterated by the slew of other fast-casual stores—including Mexicali Fresh and Habitual Fix—that are also growing quickly.   

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