Pizza Hut and gamers: a marketing match from hell

Just once, we’d like to see a press release that suggests even PR people can traffic in irony. Today is not that day—not when Pizza Hut says it is becoming the official sponsor of the Cyberathlete Professional League. Here are some of the release’s tasty sound bites: “We are excited to be the first organization to cater to the gaming community with pizza delivery options.” That’s from Angel Munoz, founder and president of the CPL. Then there’s this bit of insight from Pizza Hut’s CMO, Bill Ogle: “We are excited about our sponsorship of the CPL and CAL [that’s the amateur league] and believe that ordering a Pizza Hut pizza and having it delivered, without having to stop a game in progress, is a huge plus for this audience.” Alrighty, then! We’ve made fun before of the increasing tendency to talk about gaming as though it required a jock strap and some deodorant. But this, for us, is a joystick too far. Sure, Scion is sponsoring Major League Gaming, and Microsoft is sponsoring the World Cyber Games. But to refer to these gamers as athletes? If we ran the CPL, we’d try to get a sponsorship deal from the American Diabetes Association.

—Posted by Catharine P. Taylor