One day it just arrived. Like it had been dropped in from space when no-one was looking.
Maybe that’s how they avoided the riot from Brighton’s hard core pizza-ultra’s…

Pizza Rebellion is pizza made by humans, finished by robots and available through shipping container sized, automated oven units in high footfall areas. In this case it’s outside Brighton station but you can find them in Chichester and Bognor Regis too.

Pizza Rebellion’s brand promise is: Banging craft pizza in just 4 minutes.

Brighton however is already well served with some very good pizza. Just ask The Graphic Foodie. Fatto a Mano, NuPosto, Pizzaface, Purezza and VIP are just a few more authentic, proper pizza purveyors that can welcome you to their door or deliver to yours.

So what are they rebelling against?

Successful challenger brands choose their challenge carefully and purposely so that it’s based on a deeply held belief.
Could Pizza Rebellion’s challenge be to the ubiquitous pizza with poor ingredients, unremarkable taste and quality? When most independent pizza brands are dialling up their authenticity creds to 11, its hard to see that being the differential.

In our admittedly small taste sample of 6 people, we tried the Margarita Mutiny and Notorious PIG. We liked the brand, the attitude and the copywriting.

The pizza was less impressive. ‘A bit like one of the better supermarket frozen pizzas.’, ‘Maybe… if it was late and Pret was closed.’, ‘Ok for the kids, if I was in a hurry’.

You get the idea. They could well be rebelling against disappointing pizza but perhaps not in this city.

Maybe it’s about convenience?

4 mins is a good promise, you can’t usually get pizza that quickly. And even Pret will take that long to serve hot food. It’s 4 mins per pizza though, so our two took 8 mins as the unit can only heat one at a time. And if the unit has a few orders before yours, those 4 mins can be longer than a short stroll to an accessible alternative.

How about challenging overpriced pizza?

At £9.95 the Margherita Mutiny is pound or two more than a Margherita from local independent pizzeria. So the price is at the upper end too.

Pizza in box

Brand Promises

Even without a specific belief or challenge, effective brand promises still need to be true, relevant to the specific audience and different from the competitors or alternative choices.

It’s not easy getting all three but it’s worth pursuing because it can guide the whole business, not just the marketing and creative.
With Pizza Rebellion a clear brand promise and brand benefit are harder to see. Is it ‘Banging craft pizza delivered in just 4 mins’? Kinda.

The pizza’s aren’t exactly family pizzeria standard but they’re ok; they’re convenient up to a point; and albeit costlier than some, the price alone is unlikely to scare people off.

As with typical train stations, Brighton has Pret, M&S, pasty’s, bagels, coffee shops and the ever present WHSmith. Granted none are promising pizza, but the hungry traveller knows what they’re going to get, and there’s plenty of choice for less than £10.

Pizza Rebellion’s brand promise feels a little late to the authentic pizza party, especially in a city where there’s no shortage of genuine, high quality pizza and a smorgasbord of other good quality food to go, very close by. And Brighton isn’t unique in that respect.

Pizza Rebellion journey

The innovation is to be admired though. Pizza Rebellion is trying something different, and hot food vending is something food brands and manufacturers have looked admiringly in Asia and the Far East for inspiration for a while. The Pizza Rebellion brand has some attitude as well as visibility, so they could be building that all-important mental availability for when train pizza’s become a thing.

But it’s hard to see those attributes alone being enough to regularly beat the alternatives and to keep that rebellion going. For now, Deliveroo from VIP as the train pulls in gets my vote.