Papa John’s Ties Virtual Game to Founder’s Pizza Deliveries

Posted on by Chief Marketer Staff

Papa John’s is further immersing its customers in its brand with a new online experience that supports a summer campaign that has the company founder making personal pizza deliveries to customers.

The online application, known as augmented reality, allows users to interact in real-time with computer-generated imagery.

Here’s how it works: People log on, download and print an icon of the 1972 Z28 Camaro that founder John Schnatter sold 25 years ago to open his first restaurant. Users virtually drive that same Camaro when the image is recognized by a webcam.

The experience is tied to a new ad campaign, “Papa’s In the House” that lets viewers know that the next time they place an order for a pizza delivery they should pay special attention to the person at the door: It could Papa John founder John Schnatter himself.

As users drive the virtual car they will encounter exclusive discounts on billboards for Papa John’s purchases available throughout the summer. The experience is updated regularly to deliver new surprises and offers to players.

The goal is to provide a little bit of fun for our customers. To allow them to share in our experience rather than just showing them an ad or sending them an e-mail,” Jim Ensign, Papa John’s vice president of marketing communications, said.

Ensign termed the costs of the program, developed by Fleishman-Hillard, a “moderate investment.”

“It’s not that expensive, but the feedback to date is worth every penny,” he said.

Adding another layer to the promotion, and the one that will deliver the most exposure for the driving experience, this month, the icon for the game will be available on the bottom of pizza boxes, which drives customers to the Web site to download the application.

According to Papa John’s, an estimated 20% of Americans currently own and operate a webcam. People who don’t own a Webcam can also participate by visiting online where the game can be experienced via a flash demonstration.

A related “Papa John’s Camaro Chase Contest,” sends people on a search to find Schnatter’s original 1972 Camaro. Clues, such as photos of the sunroof, split bumper and original license plate are on the site. The winner receives $25,000. The contest ends Aug. 31.

Papa John’s has long worked to engage its customers online. People can place orders online and in 2007, the company offered a service that lets customers order by text messaging after creating an account.

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