Daily Insights

Papa John’s Cheeses a New Face

By: Alizah Asif Farooqi | Mar 07, 2019

Papa John’s is spicing up its marketing strategy with an assortment of influencers from both Instagram and YouTube to help promote its new pies and revamped rewards program. Here’s what the brand might want to consider if it aims to make over its greasy reputation.

After a slew of unsavory comments from its founder, Papa John’s has been in hot water. Loyalty, in particular, has been tough to win back. Additionally, competitors including Pizza Hut and Dominos have been on a roll, doubling down on digital and visibility at a rapid pace. That said, projecting a polished-up rewards program is a smart move for Papa John’s. Owner of the fastest desktop site out of all brands tracked in Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Restaurants, the company might want to focus on mobile as the main medium when rolling out its rewards program.

Though it hasn’t named any specific spokespeople yet, Papa John’s should tread carefully in influencer territory. Choosing a mega-influencer could risk the brand appearing inauthentic and in need of a quick fix to cover up its past blunders. But linking up with a micro-influencer could prove difficult too, since these social media stars might be more careful about which brands they choose to partner with, given their smaller followings.

The announcement to sign on with new faces comes at around the same as Papa John’s official decision to cut off ties from its controversial former CEO John Schnatter. Whether this is intentional or coincidental, any way you slice it, a new look and a new voice might be the panacea for Papa John’s problems.