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Hold the pizza

UnfortunateeventsMaybe its unfair to single out Papa John’s unfortunate Lemony Snicket tie-in, but at a time when branded content is raising the bar for all entertainment-related advertising, this “let’s hitch a ride on Jim Carrey’s coattails” deal seems particularly nonsensical.

The pizza slinger has launched a TV spot touting its “Fortunate Deal”: buy a large pizza and have the opportunity to get a preview CD-ROM of the new Lemony Snicket video game for just $13.99. Now, I know that these deals have being going on since the dawn of the Happy Meal—I don’t remember Miss Piggy chowing down at Mickey D’s in The Muppet Movie but I have the glasses to prove merchandising hasn’t always been strategic.

That said, isn’t it time these licensing deals step up their strategies a bit? Pizza is not once mentioned in the movie, a delightfully Gothic tale of three orphans sent to live with an evil relative (though pasta puttenesca plays a supporting role). Are you listening, Olive Garden?

Hey, Burger King may have done the same with SpongeBob, but at least he makes his living flipping crabby patties. As for the branded entertainment portion of the film, the AFLAC duck’s brief cameo may entertain ad wonks, but average moviegoers will likely see only a white duck narrowly escaping debris from a dilapidated house. The duck yells a brief, “Aaaaaaaah…” before quacking off-screen, but the all important, “-flac,” was either not present or too faint to be heard. What good is a close-up when nobody knows who you are?

—Posted by Deanna Zammit

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