Papa John's Skipped Super Bowl Ad for $58K Pizza Giveaway

Papa John's Skipped Super Bowl Ad for $58K Pizza Giveaway

News by Roberto Orosa
Published: February 16, 2024

Papa John’s, known for its world-famous pizzas, steered clear of airing a commercial during Super Bowl 58.

Instead, the pizza giant orchestrated a remarkable Super Bowl-themed event in Las Vegas, showcasing a unique marketing strategy.

In collaboration with The Martin Agency, Papa John's opted out of creating a Big Game ad to organize a captivating stunt that involved delivering a pizza worth $58,000 to two lucky sweepstakes winners.

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The surprise was ingeniously crafted by embedding fake money into the crust, adding an element of excitement and extravagance to the pizza delivery experience.

The location for the delivery was a Papa John’s outlet conveniently situated just off the vibrant Las Vegas Strip, near where the Super Bowl was recently held.

Papa John's Taps Into a New Market

This unprecedented stunt aligns with Papa John’s revamped branding strategy, which aims to celebrate pizza culture and appeal to a younger audience, particularly the Gen Z market.

Jaclyn Ruelle, the head of brand at Papa John’s, emphasized the brand's aspiration for deeper engagement with its consumers, expressing enthusiasm for the shift in strategy.

"We’re on a new run," she shared. "We are working to get more of that younger fan base, those Gen Zers, brought in. This is really about engagement."

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Adding to the allure of the event was the presence of Jacob Bartoli, a general manager at Papa John’s and a social media influencer with a significant following on Instagram and TikTok.

Bartoli's captivating pizza-making videos have amassed a sizable audience, contributing to the brand's visibility and appeal.

How Did the Raffle Go?

Bartoli utilized his growing social media presence to encourage customers to visit the Papa John’s Vegas Style Pizza website and enter the sweepstakes for the $58,000 pizza.

Customers were offered additional entries by ordering Papa John’s Epic Stuffed Crust pizzas, including a Pepsi product in their order, or choosing to pay with Venmo, leveraging the brand’s new partnership with the payment platform.

On Super Bowl Sunday, the excitement reached its peak as Bartoli, accompanied by Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby, surprised one fortunate winner with the extravagant pizza in a bedazzled box adorned with gemstones and Vegas-inspired elements.

"We blinged it out, essentially,” Ruelle added.

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Apart from the two grand prize winners, 58 customers across the nation were rewarded with $58 in Papa John’s loyalty currency, Papa Dough.

This collaboration with The Martin Agency marks Papa John’s strategic move towards refreshing its creative approach.

While the brand chose not to invest in a Super Bowl ad spot, it remains committed to engaging consumers through innovative experiences. 

"We are not a Big Game advertiser this year. But we wanted to be a part of the conversation about pizza," Ruelle explained.

"A captive moment like Super Bowl, where we know people are going to be at home glued to their TVs, is a good delivery and ordering moment," she added.

Editing by Katherine 'Makkie' Maclang

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