How Pizza Hut Is Inspiring Literacy Across the Globe
In a bid to inspire underserved communities around the world, Pizza Hut recently launched ‘The Literacy Project’, an initiative that aims to impact the lives of 100 million people over the next 10 years. As the name suggests, the brand will do this via reading and the teaching of literacy, an area it has experience in via its ‘BOOK IT!’ initiative which launched in 1984. The Literacy Project launched last Thursday in Harlem, New York, at an event in which Modern Family’s Rico Rodriguez gave out books to second grade kids. LBB’s Addison Capper chatted with Pizza Hut’s Senior Director of Communications and Marketing, Doug Terfehr, to find out more.
LBB> Why is it important for Pizza Hut as a brand to launch this initiative and promote literacy?
DT> We believe literacy can drive economic and social progress. By providing resources for literacy and reading, we can help create stronger businesses, more prosperous local economics and vibrant communities.
LBB> How does it fit in with the ideals of the brand?
DT> At Pizza Hut, our values centre around helping our employees become their best and unlocking their full potential. That same promise holds true to our communities. Literacy and reading are bridges to opportunity, and Pizza Hut is excited to help people get there.
LBB> You’re aiming to empower 100 million people over the course of 10 years - how are you planning to pull it off? How will the initiative work?
DT> In the U.S., The BOOK IT! program will be a huge driver for us. Roughly 3 million new kids enter the program each year now and we have plans to inspire even more young readers through that program in the future. Our fundraising initiative with First Book will directly benefit those most in need of resources. And our team members will be key ambassadors for The Literacy Project as its greatest impact will be felt in their local communities. That collective support is why we felt it was possible to set such a lofty goal.
LBB> In which countries will the initiative roll out?
DT> Costa Rica, Brazil, South Africa and the U.S. are the lead markets in year one and we will add additional markets throughout the program.
LBB> Pizza Hut has a history of promoting literacy in the US via the BOOK IT! program - why did you decide to expand on it with The Literacy Project?
DT> The BOOK IT! program is the longest running, corporate supported reading program in the country and it is the inspiration behind The Literacy Project. It started in 1984, and we like to think that we were doing ‘CSR’ before CSR was a thing. We hear often from alumni of the program that BOOK IT! is the reason they have a love for reading today.
LBB> What are the aims of the initiative?
DT> The goal of The Literacy Project is to inspire readers, empower teachers and enable access.
LBB> Which other companies are you working with on the campaign roll out?
DT> First Book, a recognised non-profit and leader in supporting equal access to educational materials by providing new books and resources to schools and programs that serve children in need.
LBB> Any parting thoughts?
DT> Consumers can support The Literacy Project through donations at literacyproject.pizzahut.com. Money raised benefits local communities. Every donation has a major impact:
- $1 a step toward literacy
- $3 a brand new book
- $5 new school supplies
- $10 backpack of books