While Papa John’s has only recently joined the modern digital age by bootstrapping its website, Pizza Hut has catapulted straight over Papa’s Hobbit village into Gandalf territory with its new ‘Subconscious Menu’.
Created in association with Tobii Technology – ‘the global leader in eye tracking’ – Pizza Hut’s new menu tracks users’ eye movements to determine what kind of pizza they really want, that is, what toppings their eyes linger on longest. Pizza Hut’s YouTube demo claims that the technology is ‘like magic, but without the weirdness’. This demo is problematic for a whole host of reasons, the most frivolous of which we’ll look at now.
First, the menu is not ‘like magic’. It’s like technology, and the last time we checked, technology was the exact opposite of magic. As far as we know, it still is. It’s not as if Gandalf shot gamma rays out of his wizard staff and the Eye of Sauron was based on retina-scanning technology. That is magic, this is not. LIES.
We also take serious issue with Pizza Hut’s implication that magic is weird. Why don’t you try telling that to the twelve million Magic: The Gathering players on planet Earth, a statistically large proportion of which are probably pizza fans? Way to alienate your consumer base with misinformation and unfounded judgement calls, Pizza Hut.
But the real issue here occurs in the first fifteen seconds of the video. Some faceless guy named Toby (we assume he’s a Pizza Hut employee but from the look of his service skills he may just be a random, out-of-work voice actor) approaches a couple and asks them if they know what they want to order. They shrug, guiltily, and Toby assumes they’re indecisive losers who require mindreading to work out what they really need from life. But we can tell from their empty hands that they were never given menus – regular non-non-magical menus, that is – and so couldn’t possibly decide what they’d like to eat without reading Toby’s mind first. Clearly you’ve gone about this the wrong way, Pizza Hut.