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Papa John's Gets Free Publicity

Posted by Non-Hamster on May 4th, 2008

How you ask?  After Basketball star Lebron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers complained about hard fouls (whatever that is, sounds like a really tough bird to me) and Washington Wizards center Brendan Haywood called him a crybaby.

Papa John's decided to take advantage of the situation.  They had a bunch of T-shirts made up with LeBron James' number over the word "crybaby".  The shirts showed up at Cavaliers / Wizards games and Cavaliers fans were taunting James.

I am not a hamster, I know a promotional gimmick when I see one.  First they get a lot of notice (and brand name recognition) by not only doing the t-shirt thing, but making certain that people know WHO did it.  Second, once that's played out as far as it needs to go, they make a big deal about apologizing for the stunt, following it with a deal where they're going to sell pizza's for 23 cents on Thursday and donate $10,000 to the Cavaliers Youth Fund.

All of this adds up to a bunch of free publicity.  Obviously James is no baby, I doubt he even needs acne wash much anymore and I doubt that this taunting t-shirt thing was any kind of a serious problem for him.  Papa John's may have been out the cost of some pizzas and ten grand for the youth fund but in the long run I'm sure they figured it was worth it.  It's not the kind of stunt you can pull very often but if you do it right and I think maybe they might have, you can get a lot of benefit.. increased name recognition as well as 'good guy' credit for donating to a worthy cause

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