If you’ve been reading So Good for a while, you could probably speculate that Papa John’s wouldn’t be my biggest fan. After all, who knows how much money the company lost after So Good broke the Papa John’s/Lebron James/Crybaby story.

But where I criticize companies for boneheaded moves, I also praise them for a job well done, and Papa John’s has been working some magic in the last three days with their attempts to build up the number of Papa John’s fans on Facebook, surging from around 10,000 fans on Sunday, to more than 164,000 at the time of this post. Damn. How could anyone possibly increase their fans on Facebook that fast? Well, it’s because of an offer for FREE pizza:

Hey everyone loves something free right? Not hard to get someone to click a link to become a fan if they know they are getting a free pizza out of it. Bargain shopping and coupon websites and blogs were abuzz and Papa John’s added 120,000 fans in the first 24 hours of the offer.

Of course with all things “free” there is a catch – to get a free medium cheese pizza, you have to first make an online pizza purchase.  As the board of the Facebook fan page proves, even when you offer something free, someone is going to bitch – a lot of people feel that saying “free pizza” is deceptive, because it’s really buy one get one free, and are also complaining because the offer says “free medium pizza” but then they limit it to a medium cheese – then again, maybe these people are just morons and don’t know how to read fine print. Either way, there are some amusing comments left on the fan page:

Really super lame “offer.” No longer a Fan.

i gotta buy a pizza to get a pizza?? cmon…i woulda bought a pizza anyway, cant we just get a free pizza without a catch??????

BOOOO… FALSE ADVERTISING!! They kept going on and on about a free pizza if you join this group. Come to find out, you have to BUY a pizza in order to get one for free…. They should have said it was a Buy one get one free offer!

free cheese?? u kidding right?? WOW, thanks Papa john…i love me some cheese.. /sarcasm

Ok, is this a free pizza or a BUY ONE, get one free deal? It better be FREE!!!

Can’t please everyone all the time.

With over 164,000 friends, Papa John’s Facebook fan page now has more fans than Domino’s (141,000) but is far short of Pizza Hut (386,000).  Overall, a smart promotion and very impressive effort by Papa John’s who have suceeded in adding more than 150,000 fans in less than 3 days.

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