In a nutshell

Our search for the Golden Dough Balls campaign built brand fame for PizzaExpress and drove people into restaurants

Pizza Express

The Search for the Golden Dough Ball

We decided to create news around an asset that is symbolic of PizzaExpress – its iconic dough balls

During the last three weeks of January, PizzaExpress customers ordering dough balls in any restaurant could win a solid gold one valued at £5,000. Another could be won by buying a special pack of PizzaExpress dough balls sold in supermarkets nationwide. Plus to increase the chances of winning, we placed vouchers for a year’s supply of dough balls in 10 packs, ‘Willy Wonka’ style.


To front the campaign, we called on Joey Essex, fresh from ITV’s I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here… and brimming with media appeal. Painting him from head-to-toe in gold, he showed-off his post-jungle physique in a stunning photo shoot featuring our Golden Dough Balls.

The shoot was held ten days before launch along with three exclusive media interviews to secure national coverage on launch day. And, to make this fly digitally, we invited Marcus Butler – one of a new generation of Super YouTubers (700,000 subscribers) – to see behind the scenes. He kick-started our social activity, along with tweets from Joey and PizzaExpress, plus we announced the campaign through Facebook and Twitter. On Monday 20 January, known as the most depressing day of the year, we announced a Gold Rush – a one-day dough ball giveaway for any customer showing off gold jewellery or clothing in restaurant.


Blog traffic rose significantly with 16,766 hits on launch day

Key Stat

333,000 week-one views of Marcus Butler’s video

Key Stat

33% increase in sales of dough balls

Key Fact