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The Tom Dougherty Blog



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Papa John’s looking for a new CMO: Here’s some advice

Papa John’s, the pizza giant with commercials that feature CEO and founder John Schnatter, announced that its chief marketing officer, Andrew Varga, is leaving.

Here’s some advice to Varga’s replacement: Stop. Stop with low-price promotions, the free giveaways and the overall nonsense that’s permeating the pizza industry.

Schnatter built a successful business with revenues over a billion dollars. But it stubbornly remains in third place behind Pizza Hut and Dominos. All three pizza peddlers make huge sums of money but market share doesn’t shift no matter how many advertising dollars the big three spend.

Why? Because the trio does little more than out-gimmick one another with cut-rate deals.

Let’s see. Right now, Papa John’s offers an $11 large steak-and- cheese pizza, as well as a free pizza with any other large pizza. At Pizza Hut, a dinner box costs just $10 with pizza and bread sticks. But Domino’s beats both with its two-topping pan pizza for $7.99, a medium pizza for $5.99 and half off any pizza ordered online.

How long till one of the chains offers pizza for a buck?

The next Papa John’s CMO should focus on what it means to be a Papa John’s customer. Other than being a lover of cheap pizzas, that is.




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