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More than just pizza


Zambezi | New Business | Strategy + Brand Reframe 


The Ask:

Develop a creative strategy that helps consumers think of CPK as more than just pizza but pasta, salad, sandwiches, and more

My Role: 

  • Researched trends, consumers, consumption, and competitive landscape surrounding health, wellness, and fermented drinks 

  • Helped identify the strategic shift for the brand 

  • Helped to craft the strategy and opportunity for the campaign

Strategic Shift:

FROM: A pizza destination 


CPK has a typecast issue and it can be impending when the world only knows you for one role. That one role for CPK is known for is pizza but they have so much more to offer. 

TO: A place with surprising possibilities

The Goal:

Reframe CPK to show they're more than JUST pizza


To shake off the one-dimension CPK needs a breakout performance. Other brands have proved that breaking the mold is possible. 

CPK can break the mold by:

  • Leaning into their heritage

  • Harnessing connections with consumer and culture 

  • Being unapologetically bold

  • Making the product the hero


It was never just pizza

California Pizza Kitchen is resorting to sometimes subtle, sometimes very obvious tactics to cover up Pizza. In its written form, spoken form and actual food form. All to highlight the many new, existing and very worthy non-pizza menu items.


The CPK customer are Healthy Holistics that tend to purchase items that they see on social media. They like to be the center of attention. They celebrate special occasions at restaurants and don’t mind splurging when they go out to eat.


While they differ from the casual diner they there are elements that unite them:

  • Dine out 2X or more a week

  • Consider themselves food innovators 

  • Like to have a lifestyle that impresses others   

  • Status seekers that strive to achieve high status 

  • They enjoy outrageous behavior and situations 

  • Are one of the first in their social groups to try new things and technology


Their curiosity is reflected in their relationship with CPK as they are the one's trying and promoting non-pizza items, some of which are their favorites.  

Staying true to the brand's story of innovation 

California is one of the most diverse states and diversity drives innovation

​Diversity leads to 45% likelier to report a growth in market share over the previous year and 70% likelier to report that the firm captured a new market.

Started in California:
a pioneer's dream state

  • People came from far and wide to make it big during the Gold Rush in the 1850s

  • The citrus and oil boom in the 1900s 

  • Research and education brought some of the smartest minds to the state in the 1950s

  • The corporate rush brought finance and business to the state creating a multitude of opportunities

  • The Silicon Valley and tech boom in the 2000s is what put small businesses and start ups on the map bringing entrepreneurs, dreamers, and innovators to the state 

For 36 years CPK has been channeling that sense of adventure and innovation through a fusion of flavors and food

CPK can lean into the cultural impact that change has

Our desire to move on quickly is accelerating 

  • The average attention span of human mind was 12 seconds in 2000 and is now only 8 seconds long (the average attention span of a goldfish is 6 seconds for comparison)

  • Millennials are job hopping and changing jobs quicker than previous generations

  • about 1 in 10 singles quit dating after three months 

  • People are moving to other destinations more often 

  • Multitasking has become the norm for many dividing their attention between two or more things at once

2020 reignited our journey to discover something new and unique

  • 9.9B views for #adventure on TikTok 

  • Van life has been booming with many hitting the open road

  • Gen Z is constantly wanting to learn and are seeking out places and opportunities to enhance their skills

  • Over 1 in 4 teens and young adults tried something new over quarantine 

Especially as it relates to a fusion of different flavors

  • Spice use remains robust after COVID with more people cooking at home and looking to add more flavor 

  • 40% of social media users claim to have uploaded images of food or beverages 

  • It is the Golden Era for fusion cooking 

  • Diners are more likely to try new flavors in appetizer options

Creative Strategy Overview

Cultural Truth

The ceaseless search for the next best thing.

A place with
surprising possibilities 

Brand Truth 

CPK believes variety moves us ahead. 

Audience Truth

There’s social currency in embracing the unexpected.

Strategy Team: 

Matt Babazadeh: Group Strategy Director 

Cat Marsh: Strategist

Natalie Gomez: Director of Integrated Strategy

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