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Papa John’s Pizza Catches My Eye

January 13, 2011

Last night, I tuned in to the Miami Heat v. Los Angeles Clippers game. Blake Griffin has truly caught my attention, and I decided to stay up late in order to watch him play. Right at the beginning of the game, I got my first idea for a post about sponsorship activation between a sports entity and a corporation.

Every basketball game starts with the opening tip, and a Heat game is of course no different. During Heat broadcasts on Sun Sports, the opening tip is sponsored by Papa John’s Pizza and is cleverly called the “Papa John’s Tip of the Game” – of course using a word play on tip to reference the beginning of the game and the tip that we leave the pizza delivery man or woman.

Even at 10:30pm, this got me thinking about ordering a pizza even though I wasn’t really hungry. Then, as if on the same wave length, the Sports Biz Gal mentioned that a pizza would be great, so we started researching the options. Although we decided against the late snack, we now know that we can order Papa John’s online and have it delivered to our apartment. On the other hand, there is not a Domino’s Pizza that will deliver to us even though the closest Domino’s is only two miles away.

So, “Papa John’s Tip of the Game” was effective for a few reasons:

1) I enjoy Papa John’s pizza. I know the product, and I like it. When I see an advertisement for Papa John’s, I immediately think of BBQ Chicken Pizza and eating it with my freshman year roommate at Northwestern. Good food that reminds me of good memories. Every brand hopes that these thoughts cross the minds of consumers when it invests in a sports sponsorship.

2) Obviously, pizza and sports go hand in hand. Seeing the sponsorship, I thought, “I’d love pizza with my basketball game.” It was the proper placement for Papa John’s – during a sports broadcast and at the beginning of the broadcast.

3) The idea was clever. It’s not a genius play on words, but it’s clever. I liked the use of “tip,” and it made me think of Papa John’s rather than just dismiss the image of the logo.

4) Because of these factors and an impulse to consider ordering a pizza, the sponsorship drove me to the Papa John’s website, and even better, it allowed me to compare Papa John’s with its competitor. Now, I know that Papa John’s offers more.

Here’s my most important takeaway. The initial reason that I thought about ordering a pizza from Papa John’s was because of the product. The strong product is what hooked me. Not a clever idea and not proper placement. These things helped, but I was interested in a pizza because I like Papa John’s. As I continue my New Year’s resolution, I hope to find a company that I’ve never heard of which catches my eye because of sponsorship. Sponsorship can be effective for multiple reasons, and in this instance, it was effective because it reminded me of a product that I enjoy.

What are your thoughts?

– Jason

2 Comments leave one →
  1. John permalink
    January 26, 2011 12:15 pm


  2. March 5, 2011 7:19 pm

    My thoughts are that I hate living in a world where something as simple as the tipoff of a basketball game has to be “The Papa Johns tipoff” while playing the game in an arena named after some other massive corporation. I hate it even more that it actually is effective. What a soulless world we’ve created. Glad you support it.

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