LeBron James is a hero here in NEOhio. When a Washington Papa John’s franchise printed up T-shirts with the Papa John logo on them calling the Cleveland Cavaliers player a “crybaby”, the 86 Papa John Pizza stores in the Ohio area ran a promotion to sell pizzas for 23 cents each.
Some estimates I found said the chain sold an estimated 75,000 pizzas. Other sources said 300 pizzas were sold per location and then the store was closed. Whatever the real number is, I do know this, the lines went on for blocks.
Papa John’s promised to donate $10,000 and the 23 cents from each pizza sold to the Cavaliers Youth Fund, a foundation that encourages education, promotes health and fitness and supports job-training programs.
- A google search the next day on “Papa Johns” 23 brings back 342,000 results.
- A google search 10 days later on “Papa Johns” 23 brings back 512,000 results.
- A google search the next day on “Papa Johns” 23 video brings back 86,200 results.
- 10 days later: 94,400 results
- Money donated to good cause
- Lots of media coverage
- Fans stood in lines talking about Papa Johns
Did Papa Johns fix a marketing mistake? Yes I believe so.
Lesson learned: Take a mistake, admit it (big time!) and turn it into a marketing opportunity. Papa Johns got TV coverage and newspaper coverage of their event. Wonder how much a TV commercial of a similar length and column inches in the newspaper would have cost? Fulfilling a promotion with product is usually less expensive than buying media.
Is there a way that you could apply this principle to your business and build some buzz among your customers, getting media attention at the same time?
video: Action 19 news via AP via YouTube