Why Is Comcast Throwing Pizza Parties?
What’s one way to improve your image when you’re the most hated company in America? How about throwing a pizza party?
That’s exactly what Comcast has reportedly been doing in the Seattle area. In an apparent effort to attract new customers, MyNorthwest.com reports that Comcast has been hitting up different apartment buildings around the city. With the expansion of companies like Amazon bringing tons of fresh new faces to the Emerald City, several areas have seen a boom in building, with thousands of new apartments being filled by recent transplants.
In order to give those transplants a formal greeting, and hopefully sign them up for cable, internet, and phone service, Comcast has decided to go with one of the more unconventional marketing methods in the arsenal: cheese and pepperoni.
The news seems to have its genesis in a couple of different posts on Reddit, specifically within the Seattle subreddit. Commenters mention that the move does seem somewhat like a bribe, while many others simply instruct the person who originally started the threat to eat the Comcast-supplied pies and hit the bricks.
So what exactly is going on here? A cool, new approach to attracting customers? Or feckless pandering? MyNorthwest.com was able to get in touch with a Comcast spokesman, Steve Kipp. “People have choices of different services and we believe if we can we can get people in front of our products they can see the advantages we have over our competitors and learn to like those products,” he said. “The real reason for this is so much of marketing is really just about having a real relationship with the customer and showing the products and services we are able to offer.”
So perhaps it’s a hybrid of pandering and a new marketing approach. Apparently there have been several of these pizza parties held across the area, which also include giveaways for things like iPads. Whether or not it’s actually changing anyone’s mind over whether or not they want to sign up with Comcast has yet to be seen.
While it’s a nice gesture to see Comcast welcoming new members of the community with delicious pizza and prizes, it is unorthodox. Again, it may just be an attempt to try out something new, and try to repair the company’s image that has been relentlessly dragged through the mud over the years.
One thing Comcast may be trying to capitalize on is the influx of immigrants to the Seattle area. There has been an influx of workers hired by several big companies in the area, like Microsoft, Amazon and Boeing from Asia and other parts of the world. According to Census data and figures from Seattle’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, Washington’s immigrant population grew 48 percent between 2000 and 2011. On top of that more than 13 percent of the state’s overall population was comprised of immigrants. Those numbers have likely gone way up over the past few years, given the growth of several big companies in and around the city.
Many of these recent immigrants are likely unfamiliar with Comcast and its reputation. By essentially greeting them at the door, it’s a good way to make a first impression and stick in the minds of new arrivals.
Of course, Comcast is up against some bigger guns from its chief rival in the area, CenturyLink. Comcast has ignored customer calls for faster and more reliable service, so CenturyLink is beating them to the punch by rolling out its own high-speed gigabit network. According to Geekwire, it appears that CenturyLink will not only attract away customers with their new network, but they are already beating Comcast in pricing. “In Seattle, CenturyLink currently offers up to 40 Mbps for $29.95 per month. Meanwhile, Comcast offers 50 Mbps for $77.95 per month and 105 Mbps for $114.95 per month, both without bundle packages,” Taylor Soper writes for Geekwire.
There are several reasons why Comcast may be trying to win customers over with pizza and iPads, but the question of whether or not it will work is another matter entirely. As much as they might try, it’s unlikely Comcast will be able to overcome years of lackluster service and plenty of consumer hate with a stack of pizzas and some two-liter bottles of Dr. Pepper.