Thursday, May 8, 2008

Protecting your corporate image

Many of you reading this already know where I work. It's not a secret if you meet me at Lotusphere or Admin. However, new readers may not know. Nor will you find out at least from reading this blog.
Corporate identity is a closely guarded asset many companies are protecting at all cost. That's one of the reasons why I NEVER post the company name of where I work on here because I know someone in marketing will get an email alert and then I will likely be called on the carpet for mentioning it. I would never say anything bad about my company, I love working there. But for the Papa Johns Pizza company, they lost control of that last week.
During the NBA playoffs between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Washington Wizards, a local Papa John franchise in Washington started to print up shirts that said Crybaby 23 and included the Papa Johns logo on it. This was in reference to LeBron James' comments during the playoffs and the fact that he was getting fouled pretty hard. Brendan Haywood of the Wizards referred to LeBron as a crybaby, and thus the shirt was born. Of course, LeBron and the Cavs had the final say in all of this and soundly defeated the Wizards allowing the Cavs to advance in the series.
But seeing the shirts in Cleveland left a bad taste in the mouths of Cleveland pizza eaters. Papa Johns didn't wait to respond to this issue. They immediately let Cleveland fans know that the shirt was the product of a local franchiser and not from the corporate office and offered an official appology. They have even gone as far as to sell a 1 topping large pizza, today only, in the Northeast Ohio market for 23 cents, pick up only. So far, demand for the pizza is insane. Cleveland TV is reporting as much as a 5 hour wait to get a pizza. Actually, as of 6:30, some locations have cut off the lines! Pretty amazing how a moment of "team spirit" is ending up costing the company a lot of dough. And sauce, cheese and pepperoni.

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