http://www.sogoodblog.com/2008/05/03/pa ... e-of-ohio/
Does Papa John’s Pizza Hate the State of Ohio?
May 3rd, 2008 · 24 Comments
Update 5/4. 1:30 AM: The snowball effect continues. Someone has started a Facebook group titled “Cavs fans that will never eat Papa Johns ever again”
Update 5/4, 12:15 AM: Earlier today the Cleveland Plain Dealer interviewed me for a story about these shirts. Their story has now been posted on the Plain Dealer website. It notes, among other things, that the decision to give out these shirts was NOT authorized by the corporate office.
Update 5/3, 11:30 PM: Less than 24 hours after So Good broke the story, someone has put up a website called Boycott Papa John’s.
Update 5/3, 8:00 PM: Deadspin, FanIQ, Cold Mud, AOL’s Fanhouse and more than a dozen other online communities have picked up the story.
Update 5/3, 3:15 PM: This story is starting to spread like wildfire. Cavs fans online are already suggesting a boycott HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE. In the comments, a delivery driver for Papa John’s writes:
“We received two faxes talking about the shirt,followed by threats to boycott.”
A General Manager for a Northeast Ohio Papa John’s adds:
“we have received calls of people wanting to boycott us, but hopefully something will come out ASAP from Corporate as a nationwide apology.”
Original Post 5/3 2:00 AM:
Why would Papa John’s make a marketing decision that has the potential to anger hundreds of thousands of Ohio customers?
Earlier tonight I attended the Washington Wizards and Cleveland Cavaliers playoff game 6 at the Verizon Center in DC. Over the course of my night, one thing really surprised me. A few fans around the arena had shirts mocking Lebron James. The shirts had the number 23 on them, with the word “Crybaby” across the back. This kind of taunting is common at NBA arenas. But what was most shocking was that the shirts featured the Papa John’s logo, and appeared to be sponsored by, and paid for by, Papa John’s Pizza.
Lebron James is one of, if not THE most popular player in the NBA. Not only that, he is beloved in the state of Ohio. I was perplexed why Papa John’s Pizza would put their name on a t-shirt that so openly taunted such a well-liked athlete. The decision to sponsor these shirts seems incredibly ill advised.
The only rational would be if Papa John’s has a lot of franchises in Washington, DC, but none in the state of Ohio. However, as a national chain, I was skeptical that they didn’t have a presence in the state. Sure enough, a quick check on the Papa John’s website, using their restaurant locater, shows that there are TEN different Papa John’s pizza outlets just within 12 miles of the Cleveland Cavaliers arena.
So the question now is, why did Papa John’s decide to sponsor a promotion that will surely piss off a ton of Cavaliers fans and Ohio residents? Will Papa John’s start to lose business because angry residents don’t appreciate them openly mocking the most popular athlete in the state of Ohio? Will this end up hurting Papa John’s profits, or damage their company name? Will it lead to a boycott of Papa John’s by Cleveland Cavaliers fans?
And yes here's an image