Pizza Chain Hopes Trippy Menus Are Liberated

Charged by their client, Mellow Mushroom, with creating a promotion that “people would want to steal,” advertising agency BooneOakley, Charlotte, delivered a series of artist-designed menus, breaking this summer, that is intended to support the pizza chain’s brand positioning as “a place of self-expression and imagination” and “a place between reality and possibility.” Say what? Mellow Mushroom has 195 individual stores, each are designed and decorated by local artists, and each offers several exclusive “locals only” recipes.



BooneOakley reached out to five artists with suitably fantastical philosophies and styles — Andrew Archer favors “hallucinogenic color” while Olaf Hajek calls his style “the imperfection of beauty.” Each was given free rein to create an alternate pizza reality, with a full-page, art-only cover, an artist’s bio on the back and in between, 6 pages of menu items illustrated with dozens of small, weird spot drawings. Initial customer reaction appears to have met Mellow Mushroom’s criteria for success. Some of the menus have been “liberated” within their first week of appearance. The menus are 10” x 9” (closed), 20” x 9” (open), and hard bound (coated pressboard), as if an artist’s easel.



Creative credits go to the artists: Andrew Archer, Melbourne; Aldo Crusher, Mexico City; Olaf Hajek, Berlin; Jon Reinfurt, Audubon NJ; and Mark Ward, London;  as well as to BooneOakley creative director David Oakley; design director Eric Roch von Rochsburg; art director Laura Beebe; and copywriter Mary Gross.