Pizza Already Unites the World, But This Progressive Chain Thinks It Can Do More

MOD Pizza and Observatory created new book about belonging

MOD Pizza's book illustrates the importance of belonging. MOD Pizza
Headshot of Shannon Miller

There are a few reasons that pizza is one of the most popular dishes in the world. Not only is it the culmination of some of the best foods—bread, sauce, and cheese rarely steer you wrong—but its very design encourages sharing with others. Even if the “perfect pizza” looks different for each individual, a decent pizza can double as a unifier, bringing all walks of life together. It may sound silly, but sharing a pizza can really provide a sense of belonging, and everyone deserves to feel like they belong from time to time.

The idea that belonging is the best ingredient is what has made MOD Pizza one of the most compassionate and fastest-growing restaurant chains in the country. With over 450 locations, Seattle-based MOD Pizza has cultivated a brand synonymous with progressive hiring, employing large numbers of second-chance (those looking for work post-incarceration) team members and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

To help spread their message of inclusivity, MOD Pizza has partnered with Best Buddies International, a non-profit organization that fosters leadership and connective opportunities for people with IDDs, and creative agency Observatory to create a book titled All Pizzas Welcome.

Illustrated by Oscar Couda, All Pizzas Welcome features the poetry of Andrea Gibson and the stories of some of the chain’s “MOD Squad,” like Eric, who has an interest in forensic science, and Jada, who dreams of becoming a world-class singer. In conjunction with the book, which will be distributed at MOD Pizza’s around the nation, MOD’s internal creative team developed a video featuring Gibson’s poem “Our World,” which she wrote specifically for the campaign. Their social media channels have also shared some of the stories from the book in small bytes.

Some of the most resonant campaigns come from brands that choose to center storytelling instead of a product. By making its employees the center of this creative endeavor, MOD helps to destigmatize disability by sharing their personal stories. It also solidifies their commitment to cultivating a workplace where everyone has a chance to grow.

“The MOD ethos is rooted in acceptance, opportunity and development—and we’re beyond grateful to have found a partner that shares our commitment to inclusion in the workplace,” said Anthony K. Shriver, founder, chairman and CEO of Best Buddies International. “MOD’s dedication to the Best Buddies mission of inclusion and integrated employment will help bring even greater awareness to the infinite abilities people with intellectual and developmental disabilities possess, in addition to the resources needed to further expand our programs.”


Client – MOD Pizza
Chief Executive Officer – Scott Svenson
Chief Purpose Officer – Ally Svenson
Chief Marketing Officer – Mark Shambura
Marketing Director – Jasmine Aminelahi
Executive Creative Director – Branson Veal
Director of Community Engagement – Mary Douglas

Agency – Observatory
Co-Chief Creative Officer – Todd Hunter & Tony Fur
Creative Director – Valeria Vanzulli
Head of Production – Chris Totushek
Intern Producer – Dita Cole
Sr. Art Director – Bianca Pettinicchi
Jr. Art Director – Ariana Safari
Sr. Copywriter – Schuyler Hunt
Jr. Copywriter – Mitchell Moss
Intern Art Director – Tarik Atallah
Intern Copywriter – Ryan Owens

Sr. Brand Executive – Samantha Oto
Jr. Brand Executive – Karen Blandon
Intern Brand Executive – Mason Shuck

Sr. Strategist – Erin Schlissel

Illustrator – Oscar Couda
Poet – Andrea Gibson

Shannon Miller is a writer, podcast creator and contributor to Adweek.