Papa John’s RCS promo for vegan pizza outdoes SMS 23%

Press release – November 27, 2019

By Robert Williams, Mobile Marketer.


  • Papa John’s Pizza ran a rich communication services (RCS) messaging campaign for World Vegan Day on Nov. 1 that resulted in sales 23% higher than that of short messaging service (SMS) communications, according to an announcement.
  • It ran the campaign for three days in the U.K., where the pizza chain has more than 350 restaurants and sees more than three quarters of its digital sales through mobile marketing channels, per the details.​
  • The chain worked with cloud communications provider Infobip and Google RCS Business Messaging. Broadly, RCS provides more multimedia features that simple texting, including the ability to deliver video, higher-quality pictures and files to mobile users. The format also supports two-way messaging features including reply and action buttons.


Papa John’s campaign for World Vegan Day demonstrates how RCS can offer a more compelling platform for consumers than traditional SMS messaging channels. While SMS is limited to text communications that are visually uninteresting, RCS expands the scope of multimedia creative and interactivity for mobile marketers. Screen grabs of the Papa John’s campaign show how RCS let the pizza chain send appetizing images of its menu items while giving mobile consumers the ability to tap on a button to view promotional offers.

While Apple’s iMessage app has provided multimedia communications among users of its iOS operating system, Android users have had to rely on various third-party apps to experience the same features. Google is getting behind the RCS standard, but faces limitations because Apple doesn’t support the messaging technology on its range of mobile devices. It’s not clear whether Apple will also adopt the RCS standard amid various press reports of the company’s plans. Apple may grow compelled to accept RCS if the technology becomes as popular among consumers as some analysts expect. The GSM Association forecasts that 86% of smartphones will be RCS-enabled by 2020.

Businesses from a range of categories have experimented with RCS messaging features in the past few years. The Sacramento Kings basketball team last year partnered with Zipwhip to offer fans an RCS messaging service on its toll-free phone number. U.K. transportation company Virgin Trains, carrier Vodafone and mobile messaging firm OpenMarket introduced RCS as a communication channel and to improve customer service.

While it doesn’t currently support RCS, Apple has its own Business Chat service to connect consumers with live customer service, including employees at storeshotels and banks, among other examples. Similarly, Facebook also is building out its Messenger and WhatsApp platforms to handle a wider variety of interactions between businesses and consumers, like services offered by Tencent’s WeChat platform in China. Facebook’s messaging apps are adding features such as digital catalogs and payments to support social commerce for retailers and brands.