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Eagle Boys forges marketing venture with Fat Pizza movie amid reports of franchisee unrest

Pizza chain Eagle Boys is hoping for a morale-boosting lift in sales as it prepares to piggy back its marketing off the impending release of Australian movie Fat Pizza v Housos.

The partnership with the film will see Eagle Boys roll out a number of marketing initiatives and join the cast on a promotional tour of the country.

The campaign comes at a time of unrest among franchisees amid reports that many are locked in disputes with head office. Some have claimed the company has halted radio, TV and letter box advertising – still regarded as a key promotional driver – which has left them struggling for sales.

National marketing manager Clare O’Brien, who joined the pizza firm six months ago, declined to comment on reports of disillusioned store owners and legal battles, but insisted the number of franchisees has stabilised at 170 and that a 12-month marketing plan was now in motion.

Eagle Boys once had 340 franchisees.

O’Brien told Mumbrella the vast majority of  franchisees had backed the tie-up with Fat Pizza v Housos, with those who regarded it as inappropriate for their demographic offered alternative marketing collateral featuring a new ‘Gour-meat” pulled pork pizza.

O’Brien denied there was risk in associating Eagle Boys with a film containing unpalatable characters, Australian “bogans” and “big and cheesy” pizza shop.

“We don’t see it as a risk. Fat Pizza and Housos are similar to Kath and Kim in that it’s satire and appeals to a broad cross section of the community,” she said. “The movie also has a talkability factor and is irreverent, as is Eagle Boys.

“Traditionally Eagle Boys has focused its marketing on families and females so I also saw an opportunity to target a different market segment as the film has a strong male audience.”

Eagle_boysO’Brien said the recent appearance of cast members at a Bathurst store attracted long queues and positive feedback from customers and franchisees.

“It’s an Australian-made film teaming up with an Australia company so there are nice synergies,” she said, adding the campaign will include a significant digital element which is more “trackable”.

Promotions will include pizza parties hosted by the cast in select Eagle Boys stores in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth and a joint online competition called ‘Ya Missus or Ya Mate’ where one customer will win a walk-on role in the next series of Housos.

A microsite, housos.eagleboys.com, has been created to support the competition. A further promotion will see Eagle Boys collaborate with Hoyts to offer two tickets to the movie for the price of one with an online purchase of the newly-created Fat Pizza Deal or Housos Deal.

O’Brien said the online-only ticket promotion will allow Eagle Boys to track its spend.

Fat Pizza v Houses will be released in Australia on November 27. The original Fat Pizza movie in 2003 grossed $7.88m at the box office.

Steve Jones

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