We Finally Know Why Little Caesars Stopped Saying 'Pizza! Pizza!'

Sometimes having a strong slogan can be a very effective marketing strategy for a restaurant, especially if it never changes or at least sticks around for a while. Arby's' "We have the meats," McDonald's' "I'm lovin' it," and KFC's "It's finger-licking good" are a few examples of well-known fast food taglines.

Little Caesars' "Pizza! Pizza" is another popular slogan, but it vanished from advertising for more than a decade in the late '90s, leaving some fans wondering why. If you're old enough, you may recall the silly TV commercials from the '80s and '90s with the Little Caesar character who always recited the tagline in that nasally voice.

The chain launched the catchy two-word phrase in 1979 to promote the "two great pizzas, one low price" campaign, which ended up being very successful, as AdAge explains. However, by the end of the century, the catchphrase was dropped for a specific reason, which ended up being a poor decision.

The promo that accompanied the tagline didn't last

According to Company Man on YouTube, Little Caesars experienced a successful expansion period for a few decades before the chain took a bad turn that led to eight consecutive years of declining sales. This decrease was likely due, at least in part, to the chain's decision to end its partnership with the ad agency that helped boost for the "Pizza! Pizza!" slogan in 1998.

Little Caesars hired a new agency, which ended up drastically reducing advertising expenses, compared to previous years. Big mistake. The new agency created a bit of a mess for the chain, specifically for franchisees who felt the advertising became inconsistent and sloppy. The goofy ads disappeared, along with the two-for-one pizza deal and the popular "Pizza! Pizza!" tagline that accompanied it.

Realizing the new agency was hurting the chain more than it was helping, Little Caesars dropped it. It also increased its advertising expenses from $3 million to $22.4 million over a 10-year period, according to AdAge. Then in 2012, the chain resurrected the "Pizza! Pizza!" tagline, acknowledging it as a powerful symbol of Little Caesars, not just a promotion.

The year after the slogan's return, the brand improved its perception

Shortly after the slogan returned, YouGov found that Little Caesars had improved its perception nationwide (per Pizza Marketplace). As predicted before, the increase in advertising expenditures seemed to have revived brand recognition and improved the chain's reputation. In 2021, nearly a decade after "Pizza! Pizza!" made its comeback, Statista reported that Little Caesars made $4.23 billion in that one year alone. (The company only racked up $3.95 billion the year prior.)

So, why did the revival of the Little Caesars' slogan change the direction of the company? It probably helps that the pizza is so cheap, but the true answer lies in the tagline's length and memorability. When a slogan is short, it's more likely to be repeated, which helps customers remember it and associate it with the brand when shopping around. According to Forbes, slogans are one of the most important things a business should consider, and it should provide a clear explanation of the companies' product. "Pizza! Pizza!" follows this guideline, as it literally announces what Little Caesars is most popular for.

The slogan has been misinterpreted in the past

Unfortunately for the brand, there's been a bit of confusion on what the slogan is actually saying. In several online threads, consumers have been asking if the tagline is "pizza, pizza" or "piece of pizza." Despite the misunderstanding, the repliers typically know the truth: "Pizza! Pizza! Back in the day, they always had a deal on two pizzas," one user commented on a Reddit thread, adding a link to a tweet showing a promotional photo from that chain that clearly stated "Pizza! Pizza!" In the tweet, the user is asking why the slogan still exists after the promotion is long gone (but we know the answer to that).

An additional Reddit user strongly believes "piece of pizza" is the correct form. "Little Caesars slogan Pizza Pizza isn't saying pizza twice, if you say pizza in the Italian accent, they're saying 'piece of pizza,'" the post read. Similar to the last thread, the comments were full of people informing the OP of the opposite. Over on Quora, people are asking similar questions, and one poster revealed that subtitles are how they knew that "Pizza! Pizza!" was always the famed slogan that makes Little Caesars so well known. Another linked to the AdAge page, which announced the phrase's 2012 return.