Dining With Denise Neil

Eagle reporter’s hunger tweet inspires funny (or creepy?) QuikTrip ad

You never know when a hunger tweet is going to make you a marketing star. Just ask The Wichita Eagle’s Bryan Horwath.
You never know when a hunger tweet is going to make you a marketing star. Just ask The Wichita Eagle’s Bryan Horwath.

He’s a Wichita Eagle reporter by trade.

But my colleague, Bryan Horwath, has other hidden talents, too, and inadvertent marketing genius appears to be one of them. A hunger tweet he posted late last year has spawned a pretty hilarious QuikTrip ad that you might have seen online.

And it involves a slice of pizza that can not only crawl but also can dial a smart phone.

Back before The Wichita Eagle moved to its new building in early May, our offices were right down the street from a QuikTrip – the one at the corner of Douglas and Washington.

And our staff members patronized it. A lot. Some people trotted down several times a day.

Bryan, who writes about breaking news at the Eagle, was one of those people. It was 11:48 a.m. on Thursday in late December when Bryan started feeling a little hungry. Another of our coworkers was contemplating a QT run, and Bryan’s mind turned to pizza.

“Not gonna lie, @QuikTrip pizza is calling me right now,” he posted on Twitter.

Several months later, Bryan was contacted by a “customer engagement specialist” at QuikTrip, asking if he’d give permission to use the tweet in an ad. Sure, Bryan said, not giving it much thought.

He didn’t know until the commercial appeared online that his short tweet had inspired the entire plot line.

The 11-second ad shows a piece of pepperoni and sausage pizza that comes to life and scooches off of its white plate and over to an iPhone. The slice taps the phone with its pointy end, and the phone starts ringing as it dials “Bryan H.” The audience then sees @bryan_horwath’s tweet handwritten on a napkin.

“Not gonna lie, @QuikTrip pizza is calling me right now.”

Joseph Truesdell, the Tulsa-based QuikTrip employee who first contacted Bryan, said that QT’s ad agency actually created several humorous commercials based around fans’ social media comments about the food from its QT Kitchens. Bryan’s will continue to run through the end of the fiscal year.

He loved Bryan’s tweet, Truesdell said, though some people who’ve viewed the ad online have been expressing hesitation about eating a pizza that has the ability to scooch.

Bryan was pretty low key about the whole thing. He’d known about the commercial for a while, but we all just became aware of it this week.

He said he was glad to help promote a QuikTrip’s pizza, which he says is in his top two favorite gas station pizzas.

“The funny thing is, it’s a product I do believe in,” he said.