Bozoma Saint John of Endeavor Will Hold Papa John’s CEO Steve Ritchie Accountable

By Patrick Coffee 

The newly-named CMO of Papa John’s newly-named agency isn’t going to let the company forget that it promised to do better.

Some context is needed for that exchange between Bozoma Saint John of Endeavor and Steve Ritchie of PJ’s.

Last Friday, the chain semi-quietly began moving down the long road to recovery after several years worth of drama involving itself, founder John Schnatter and former agency Laundry Service unfolded in less then two months.

The most direct evidence of that move is this social media campaign, which is extremely somber and stripped-down compared to all those old spots with Peyton Manning or pretty much anything we’ve seen from Papa John’s, really.

That last part was particularly interesting as the brand copywriter seems to consider equivocating a bit before biting the old bullet and going in for some self-punishment.

Specifically, Saint John was referencing promises Ritchie made, in a statement on the company’s home page and a series of social media messages, to improve the company’s culture. Beyond the oft-mentioned national listening tour, he wrote that he is “adding more diversity to the leadership team of Papa John’s” and convening a “special advisory group comprised of nationally-respected diversity, equity and inclusion experts.”

He went a bit further on his own social media channels, and Saint John weighed in on Saturday.

Seems fair to say that the new effort by Endeavor, set to debut this fall, will be closer in tone to the video above than the old spots with Peyton Manning, but the company will want to pivot away from apologies as quickly as possible.

Papa John’s confirmed today that this is Endeavor’s first work for the brand and declined to elaborate.