Pizza Hut knows you’ve spent the last twelve months in the fetal position, so to help you crawl off your couch and out into the world, it is issuing in an Age of Newstalgia. By putting a modern spin on some of your favorite memories from childhood—like Book It!® pins and red plastic cups—Pizza Hut hopes to turn its restaurants into “external wombs” of a sort, allowing society to heal from its collective trauma with video games and personal pan pizza. Not for nothing, it’s a pretty awesome plan.
The fun kicks off today with a promotion that would have sounded like the garbled ramblings of a witch back in prehistoric world of the 1980s: a limited-edition pizza box that’s been printed with an augmented reality version of PAC-MAN you can play on your smartphone. This Phase One Newstalgia-ing is to help emotionally prepare you for your return to Pizza Hut, gradually reacquainting you with its rituals in the safety of your own home.
If you’d like to publicly announce your covenant with both PAC-MAN and The Hut on social media, you might win a custom Arcade1Up game cabinet. First, order a large pizza from Pizza Hut. Next, scan the QR code on the box with your phone and play your little heart out. When you’ve lost all your lives, allow the app to post your score on Twitter with the hashtags #PizzaHutARcade #Sweepstakes, and keep your fingers crossed until April 3, when one lucky winner will be chosen at random. Even if you don’t win the big prize you’ll be getting targeted Pizza Hut ads on your phone for months, and since the new ads star the ever delightful Craig Robinson, isn’t that also a kind of winning?