Hidden Pizza Restaurant: taken from official website
Melbourne was recently awash with word of free pizza. “Who? What? Where? When? FREE PIZZA?!” Yes, it was true. There was a hidden pizza restaurant somewhere in Melbourne, and all you had to do was find it to get your free pizza. The promo went on for only two weeks (insane, a pizza joint that stays open for only two weeks?!). I was lucky enough to get hold of them on the very last day. After I heard about this elusive hidden pizza, I strapped on my trusty Google gloves and did a quick search. Pulled up a couple of food blogs that gave me exact step-by-step instructions about who to call and what to say. I thought it was curious that when I was told to mention that I got the number from Yellow Pages, but okay, whatever. I wasn’t going to question free pizza!
The place was difficult to find even with the address. Tucked into a little alley in between Brunswick St and Johnston St was the rough-around-the-edges Hidden Pizza Restaurant. There was a long queue out to Brunswick St, and I remember waiting almost 45minutes just to get in! ?Since orders had to be made on the phone prior to turning up, service was pretty smooth. Steaming hot woodfired pizzas were churned out really quickly.
The place was very very beautifully designed. It looked like they were going for the abandoned barn/hermit habitat/potential murder scene look, but it all worked very well! Hundreds of Yellow Pages stacked up against one wall (clue!), recycled wooden crates for stools and tables, naked lightbulbs, handpainted wooden signs, raw concrete… and lemonade in jars?! It all tied in very beautifully. I really must applaud the designers who worked on the place – they did a fantastic job!
Hidden Pizza interior: taken off the official website
So while I was munching on a slice of (delicious) Magarita, I got to talking with some of the other Hidden Pizza patrons. Turns out, this whole thing was a Yellow Pages marketing effort! Yeah, go ahead, kick me in the head, I do tend to be a little thick sometimes. But seriously, can you blame me for not figuring it out?! The official pizza hunting instructions said “just look it up the way you would any other business”, so, duh, I Googled it. No wonder the food blogs were telling everyone to quote “Yellow Pages” when we called in our orders!
As a marketing effort, yeah it did create hype. They got press coverage and accumulated 3,837 Facebook ‘likes’ at last count. The idea of making it “hidden” was fantastic – people love to feel smart and appreciated for it. But did it work for Yellow Pages? Quite the reverse, I think. I believe this whole stunt convinced people that Google is (still) the way to go to find anything. Google provided people not only with the telephone number, but also a step-by-step instruction manual on what to do and how to go about doing it.
I would not be surprised if this whole thing came up because Yellow Pages isn’t the first choice especially for young people, when it comes to searching for business information. It’s certainly true for me personally. My parents, who are in their 50s still consider the Yellow Pages an information source. I don’t. I have never used the service, and this experience has proven that I don’t need to.