U.S. Frozen Pizza Shortage; Quibi’s New Ad Format: Thursday’s First Things First

Plus, learn how two restaurant chains are creatively pivoting to meet COVID-19 challenges

- Credit by Source: Getty Images
Headshot of Jess Zafarris

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Forget Toilet Paper—the Really Distressing Shortage Is Frozen Pizza

While media coverage of panic buying and hoarding has tended to focus on items like bottled water and toilet paper (and how hand sanitizer somehow became more precious than a good beluga caviar) the bare racks left by shoppers who’ve filled their fridges at home with frozen pizzas have drawn considerably less attention.

But that’s where the real shortage truly lies. Americans are buying about 92% more frozen pizzas than this time last year, and grocery stores can barely keep them in stock. In Fall River, Mass., one truck driver carrying Red Baron brand pizzas resorted to padlocking his trailer for fear that panicked shoppers would break in. Last week, Minnesotans called off the friendly competition among the state’s frozen pizza brands to allow them to focus on simply feeding people.

Read more: Why do Americans love frozen pizza so much that they’ll panic-hoard it? Adweek senior editor Robert Klara explores.

All Quibi Advertisers Are Taking Advantage of ‘Turnstyle’ Format


Like the programming on mobile streaming service Quibi itself, which can be played full-screen in either portrait or landscape orientation, all of its 22 brand partners are optimizing their spots to be viewed in either mode. Some brands, like Charmin and Pepsi, are using turnstyle tech to test out new ad formats and message structures, while others are repurposing creative into spots that work in both orientations.

Read more: The format could be promising for the future of mobile advertising, allowing “for a much more immersive and interactive experience.”

The Media Industry’s Gray Tuesday

On Tuesday, many in media were on one of two ends of a hard conversation: You were either told your job was no longer, or you had to inform someone that their life is getting flipped upside down. Valence Media, Fortune, Slate, Vox Media and the L.A. Times are all enduring cutbacks.

Read more: But there are still opportunities within the crisis: apps, verticals, livestreams and loans.

If you’re a journalist (or any other media worker) and have been laid off or furloughed, we want to hear your story. We started #MediaTogether to help media professionals connect with outlets and other pros who are hiring. Learn more here.

Potbelly, Torchy’s Make Creative Pivots to Cope with Coronavirus Restrictions

Despite dine-in making up more than two thirds of business for both Potbelly and Torchy’s Tacos, these two chains both rapidly shifted strategies to accommodate for the social distancing restrictions implements as a result of the pandemic.

Potbelly has managed to keep most of its 500 locations open for delivery and takeout—while also finding creative ways to build on its emerging image as a place to gather for lunch. A playful vibe in Zoom-generated advertisements meshed with a heartfelt and authentic social strategy to keep customers coming back for more.

Meanwhile, Torchy’s transformed into a curbside service-centric business in just a few days, with payment card industry compliant tablets for quick ordering, pay-ahead functionality and new menu items targeted at families staying home. The chain also partnered with other businesses so that the two could be ordered and delivered together.

More in Coronavirus News:

With Tourism Stalled, Tiny Faroe Islands Found a Fun Way to Gamify Your Virtual Visit

The Faroe Islands are giving would-be tourists gamified, live virtual tours to see the Nordic nation, along with its wide open spaces and rugged cliffs, directly through the eyes of its inhabitants—on foot, horseback, by boat or helicopter.


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@JessZafarris jessica.farris@adweek.com Jess Zafarris (née Jessica Farris) is an audience engagement editor at Adweek.
Publish date: April 16, 2020 https://stage.adweek.com/creativity/u-s-frozen-pizza-shortage-quibis-new-ad-format-thursdays-first-things-first/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT
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