For those of you just starting to follow this story, to get some background you can read my original post and follow-up coverage about the “Crybaby” t-shirts that were at the Wizards-Cavs Game 6 and featured a Papa John’s logo on them.

One quick note for those of you contacting me for information related to a boycott, please be aware that I am merely REPORTING on this story and analyzing it from a strategic marketing angle. I am NOT advocating any action whatsoever. I am, remember, a Wizards fan, not a Cavs fan. I am happy to track this story for my readers as it unfolds because I find it fascinating, but my role in this is purely to report what I learn.

So where does the story stand as of Sunday afternoon at 1 PM?

Following up on the Cleveland Plain Dealer story I was interviewed for, a couple hours ago I did a phone interview with WJW Fox 8 in Cleveland for a story about the t-shirts that will be aired on the local news this afternoon.

The Boycott Papa John’s website currently has 62 signatures, and the Cavs fans that will never eat Papa Johns ever again Facebook group has 66 members.

The Cleveland based sports blog Waiting for Next Year suggests a boycott is not the best option to resolve the issue, and is soliciting feedback from Cavs fans about what should happen next:

“What do we want? What can Papa John’s do to appease the Cleveland fan? If they showed up with free pizzas at the next game does that do it? If they print an apology in the Plain Dealer does that get them off the hook? Should someone lose their job? Do you want Papa John himself to ask LeBron’s forgiveness? How do you want this to end??? Because the last thing I want to see happen is Papa John’s make some lame attempt at an appology and turn it into a marketing campaign and free publicity. So let’s hear it Cleveland fans, what do you want from Papa John’s?”

Additionally, in the story over at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, a few people leaving comments have pointed out that Papa John’s franchise owners in the Cleveland area had NOTHING to do with this marketing idea, and are likely Cavs fans themselves. Such as this comment, left by “folio12”:

“We, as proud Clevelanders need to make sure that we NEVER boycott something or someone who is working hard to make a living in OUR city. What those yahoos in DC did, has nothing to do with Joe Schmo working to make ends meet here. Don’t one DC person hurt many hardworking Clevelanders.”

A valid point. We may have to wait until tomorrow to find out who signed off on this marketing idea, and what, if any, role the Papa John’s corporate office had. All signs right now point to a franchise owner (or owners) in DC being responsible for these shirts.

9 Responses

  1. Cleveland Rocks

    I hope Papa John’s replaces the number 23 with an image of Cleveland’s skyline. Who are these whiny bitches?!

    Gawd, I am so sick of corporations taking MOR positions and then people overreacting when they actually behave like a human. It’s hypocrisy when people always complain about large corporations treating them like a number (um…) and here we have Papa John’s actually showing personality. And people are offended. Wah…

    Yay! More power to corporations having a little fun.

    Cleveland, grow a pair.

  2. mp1 v.8.0

    @ cleveland rocks:we already have a huge pair and we’re looking for your girl to shove them in her mouth!

    I actually did a post joking about this yesterday. It seems that the “outcry” did merit a response from our local Papa Johns establishments. On this upcoming Thursday, they’ll be selling large one topping pizzas for 23 cents.

    It wasn’t really that big of a deal to me, but I’ll take that. I thought it was great marketing, considering that the DC Papa Johns were responsible for it.


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