Daily Insights

Basket Full of Pizza

By: Mackenzie Baker | May 20, 2020

The unique partnership between Papa John’s and Shaquille O’Neal has materialized through a new set of digital stickers. 

Papa John’s is paying homage to NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal through a set of GIFS featuring the basketball star and the brand’s newest menu item, the Papadia—a pizza-sandwich hybrid. The sticker pack, created by Giphy, includes animations such as O’Neal dunking a Papadia in garlic sauce and phrases such as “Hey, Hot Stuff” and “Let’s Eat”. The stickers can be accessed and downloaded through the Papa John’s app and work on iMessage, Snapchat, and Instagram. Using social media to promote new products could help the brand prompt user re-engagement, according to a Gartner report. Following a successful Valentine’s Day pizza-themed lens, the brand has also returned to Snapchat with a gamified Papadia-themed lens. 

O’Neal has a larger part of Papa John’s than solely being the face of its new menu promotion—the former NBA player actually has 30% ownership over the franchise. O’Neal has also invested in nine Papa John’s locations around Atlanta, Georgia, redesigning the restaurant’s insides to feature pictures inspired by the player. Prior to the Coronavirus pandemic, Papa John’s saw declining sales following a racial scandal. However, since the pandemic, the brand has seen a considerable increase in sales with April 2020 becoming its best performing month ever. While the brand can thank lockdowns for increasing pizza delivery sales, the addition of new menu items also played a part in the success. In addition to the Papadia, Papa John’s released Jalapeno Popper Rolls throughout the U.S., with both new menu items contributing to lunchtime sales. The high level of delivery and carry-out for restaurant brands has made product releases not only possible, but profitable

Papa John’s is letting the pictures do the talking for its latest menu promotion. Including Shaquille O’Neal in the GIFS could help the brand reach sports fans and pizza lovers alike, as the brand continues to cultivate its digital food promotions.