The thing about marketing is it often has nothing to do with leveraging data, creative genius or timing.

Sometimes, it has everything to do with being accidentally lucky. You do something that seems like a good idea, only to see it become much bigger and more successful than expected.

pizza pizzaA great example is Pizza Pizza’s Grey Cup marketing initiative that offered a large pizza, four cans of pop, 10 chicken wings, two dipping sauces and two Grey Cup tickets for $29.99. Given the average Grey Cup ticket is selling for $90, the Pizza Pizza deal was a steal.

It was also too good to be true as the Canadian Football League quickly shut down the offer. “Although it may have been made with good intentions, it didn’t have proper authorization,” CFL spokesperson Paulo Senra said.

While Pizza Pizza customers missed out on an awesome deal, the company is making out like a bandit from a marketing and brand perspective.

The aborted deal is attracting a wave of media coverage, which will likely generate far more business than a $29.99 combo offer. Can you imagine the value of the coverage being generated?

Did Pizza Pizza know its offering was going to be off-side? Is Pizza Pizza such a brilliant marketing company that it knew the CFL would crack down, and that a media frenzy would happen? With all due respect to Pizza Pizza’s marketing and sales team, it is difficult to believe it could have been that insightful.

A more likely is scenario is the company wanted to take advantage of the Grey Cup being played in Toronto, as well as the fact ticket sales are soft. I suspect the company bought tickets for pennies on the dollar or it was given tickets, and then put together a timely marketing initiative.

Pizza Pizza’s Grey Cup bonanza shows how brands win the accidental marketing jackpot. For whatever reason, a campaign strikes a chord or succeeds in bizarre or strange ways. There is no rhyme or reason so companies should enjoy the notoriety and attention.

As marketers, we often get lost in the weeds.  We’re looking to work the angles and drill down into the data to create ultra-targeted campaigns. Marketing is a combination of art, science and, in many cases, it comes down to luck.

My suggestion to Pizza Pizza’s marketing people is to buy some lottery tickets because is definitely on their side!


I’ve worked with dozens of startups and fast-growing companies looking to accelerate their marketing. My services are driven by frameworks and processes to create messaging, strategic plans and content. If you want marketing that makes a difference, let’s talk. If you are looking for hand-picked startup content, subscribe to my weekly newsletter.

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