First New Ad Further Distances Papa John’s Founder

Posted on by Patty Odell

Papa John’s Pizza has a new agency and a new campaign following the ousting of its longtime founder and frontman John Schnatter and the tarnishing of its brand image.

Schnatter had been the face of Papa John’s, appearing in marketing materials and TV spots for decades. Now, the new agency of record, Endeavor Global Marketing, has released a new campaign that features real employees called “Voices.”

The new 60-second spot aired Sept. 18—and is also posted on YouTube—cutting to over a dozen different employees. As the spot opens, the voice over says: “You’ve heard one voice of Papa John’s for a long time. It’s time you heard from all of us.” The spot then features a look at two dozen ethnically diverse Papa John’s workers like Director of Operations Mike in El Paso, TX, and Operating Partners Stephanie in Warsaw, IN.

Over the summer, Schnatter found himself embroiled in a PR disaster after news reports that he used the N-word during a May company conference call. The marketing team began removing his image his image and all references to him from its advertising, marketing and promotional materials. The company’s stock took a hit, and some sports teams and the University of Louisville severed their relationships with Schnatter. The Chicago Tribune reported that he was evicted from his offices.


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Schnatter appeared to place the blame for the use of the word on the agency Laundry Service.

At the time, Papa John’s issued a statement that read in part: “Diversity is an essential ingredient in our pursuit of providing a better product and better service to our customers and to the communities where we operate and live. We take great pride in the diversity of the Papa John’s family, though diversity and inclusion is an area where we will continue to strive to do better.”

Endeavor Global Marketing took that statement and brought it to reality through the new “Voices” advertising campaign.

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