Papa John's Attempt to Rebuild the Brand

After a tough couple of years, pizza chain Papa John’s is trying a new approach: an ad campaign featuring former NBA player Shaquille O’Neal. The campaign references the company’s history with an addition to its “Better Ingredients. Better Pizza” slogan: “better day.”

Sales were down, and then the company took another hit after founder John Schnatter criticized NFL leadership for allowing players’ protests. He parted ways with the company after using the “n” word during a conference call that became public.

According to Papa John’s chief branding officer, Shaquille “represents the pied piper of fun.” From the ad here—and two others produced by the company—it’s clear that fun is a key component.

One commentator asks, “Why is Shaq in every commercial?” A video compilation shows him representing Gold Bond, Oreos, Krispy Kreme, JCPenney, Carnival Cruise, and more.

Image source.


  • What’s your view of the new ad campaign? How effective do you think the campaign will be?

  • Is Shaq a good choice for Papa John’s spokesperson? Why would the company choose him? Is he overused by brands?