Papa John’s Explores Its Own Humble Origins in Its Pre-Super Bowl Spot

NFL's official pizza sponsor launches 'pizza family' branding

On perhaps one of the biggest pizza-eating days of the year, Super Bowl Sunday, Papa John’s is launching a new brand platform and capitalizing on its status as the official pizza sponsor of the NFL.

The new slogan, “We’re more than a pizza company, we’re a pizza family,” builds on Papa John’s overall brand promise, “Better ingredients, better pizza,” which remains the foundation of its marketing.

The 60-second spot that will air around 3 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. ET, prior to the Big Game on Fox, shows the difference between the way pizza corporations operate—chopping onions by machine, investing in strange technologies like ovens that “make your pizza taste faster”—and how Papa John’s operates, chopping onions by hand and investing in fresh ingredients. The ad also shows how the brand’s founder, John Schnatter, sold his car to buy a pizza oven.

“We’re explaining our heritage in a fun, creative way, saying, ‘This didn’t start out in a corporate environment,'” said Robert Thompson, svp of marketing at Papa John’s. “It was a man who had a vision and a dream who’s just like most Americans starting out.”

Papa John’s boxes also have new logos featuring employees, and their stories will be featured on Papa John’s homepage.

Other ads that are part of the new brand platform include a 30-second spot that likens Papa John’s competitors’ gimmicks to flying pizza drones and a 15-second spot that highlights the quality of Papa John’s meats.

Since 2010, Papa John’s has been the official pizza sponsor of the NFL, and it’s activating that partnership this week at the Super Bowl with events at the stadium in Houston, including spokesman and Papa John’s franchise owner Peyton Manning speaking about the brand to the media. Manning famously hugged Schnatter on the field after winning the 2016 Super Bowl.