Better Ingredients…Better Advertising?

papajohns.jpgI’m sure you saw the 23 Crybaby shirts that many fans were wearing at the Verizon Center for Cleveland’s game 6 win over the Wizards. What you might not have noticed is that those shirts were given out as a promotion by Papa John’s restaurants. Or perhaps you did…

I’m a delivery driver at Papa John’s in Shaker Hts, Ohio. We were very busy during the game, and then it just died. We received two faxes talking about the shirt, followed by threats to boycott. I hope this blows over quickly. -Tim Goldy

Now, I know that this was strictly a business decision. I understand marketing. But I can also understand English, and I found these gems on Papa John’s website, under ‘core values.’

We do what we say we are going to do when we say we are going to do it. We earn the right to hold others to a higher level of accountability by being accountable to ourselves, our customers and our business partners.

Our customer satisfaction must be consistent, quantifiable and demonstrable. At Papa John’s we expect excellence – the “best in its class” in everything we do.

Interesting. So a company that values ‘the best in its class’ fails to recognize LeBron James as one of the best players in the league. Further, Papa John’s has attached themselves to the idea that LeBron James is in some way “overrated” or “coddled”.

The website that put the idea to cyberspace first is You can find the article about Papa John’s here, Papa John’s Hates the State of Ohio. Since, many Clevland fans have been calling for a boycott. (Note: SoGoodBlog wanted to be sure everyone know sthat they were not calling for the boycott.)

My first thought- that’s kind of silly. But the more I think about it, the more I say why not. I don’t expect anyone outside of Ohio to participate in this, unless you are a huge Cavaliers or LeBron fan. But if you want accountability Papa John’s, then I’m willing to provide you with it.

You made a terrible business decision, because you are alienating a large customer base. You could have very easily avoided this by providing shirts that said Go Wizards or Whhhhiiiizzzarrrdd! or whatever. You didn’t have to go crybaby. And by the way, I hope you never wanted a piece of LeBron’s advertising potential. I think you can kiss that goodbye.

So here it is Cleveland fans. I say Papa Johns made a huge mistake, and should pay for that mistake. I’m not ordering their crap anymore. There are plenty of choices out there, they just made it easier for you.


  • Eli

    Yea, that’ll be the last Papa Johns I eat for a long while, and I’m sending this along to my friends at the College of Wooster back in Ohio. College towns are really the heaviest place to hit P J’s and although you do kind of hurt local franchise owners, this is actually something you can do to prop up a non-national chain in your area.

  • Tom


    I’m I the only one who finds that poll question impossible to answer? Eric Wedge awful in game manager. Mike Brown drawing up an inbounds play or anything on the offensive end, yikes. And Romeo’s no saint either.

    Romeo it is.

    /End Threadjack

  • D Funk

    Must say I was really surprised to see this in DC. Went to Game 4 this past Sunday and there was a decent pro-Cavs crowd, albeit a small one. The Wizards fans really were spewing out a lot of unwarrented venom, although the overriding feeling was that Lebron is coddled. Into the 4th quarter we started hearing shouts of the NBA being fixed. Washington fans are most likely fed up with the frustration of losing to the same team 3 years in a row, especially after the first series being so good, last year being a blowout due to injuries, and then this year being a mess because of Arenas’ attempted comeback (aside with all the other horseshit that Stevenson drug up).

    This being said, even though coupon code POSTPOINTS gets us a free Papa John’s pizza with any pizza purchase, This is one less PJ’s customer in the DC area.

  • Scott

    Its a shame that such frustration has lead to such behavior. I can understand being upset about losing to the same team three years in a row, but there comes a point where you just have to chalk it up to not being as good as someone else. The fact that Boston is struggling to close out the series against the Hawks likely isn’t helping matters much as now Washington can have the “we could’ve been a contender” mentality, but it’s just not in the cards. I really do wish them the best next year, and hope that they realize that they do not need Arenas – even if the blogosphere thinks he can do no wrong. Perhaps this was the wakeup call…

  • Consultantnomo

    Why on earth would the nations 3rd largest pizza chain taken on the NBA’s most beloved current player? I’ll assume that corporate will be playing a phone call or visit to the regional franchise group who pulled the trigger on that one. I couldn’t even fathom someone doing something that to MJ during his prime, so I gotta assume those DC area pizza fools are sorely out of touch.

    Ahhh, to be a Cleveland PJ franchisee right now or a fly on the wall at their next national franchise meeting.

  • Mosox

    I want to get one of those shirts and frame it with a newspaper clipping of the score. It’d look nice next to all my other lebron stuff

  • Mike

    Will this add more firepower to Munch’s next radio show at Angelo’s in Lakewood?

  • bowiemd1

    Token Wizard fan here. I’m sure the crybaby shirts were a local DC Papa Johns promotion rather than a national one. And come on, don’t you think Lebron does whine a lot? Also, I went to all 3 games in DC and the crowds were very civil, even as we were getting blown out in Game 6. Toughest thing Lebron had to face from the crowd was booing and a couple of “overrated” chants in game 3. There was nothing thrown and in contrast to Cleveland’s crowd, no profane chants. So come on, give us a break You won. Mike Brown’s non-stop complaining got an innocent player suspended, and Lebron’s neck (or was it his chin, no wait its his elbow) will have time to heal before round 2. Did y’all see the sign “David Stern, Lebron once shook my hand. Don’t suspend me” ? Highlight of my evening.

    Good luck against the Celtics/Hawks. But don’t expect them to play any nicer than the ‘zards.

  • Rick

    Got no beef with Wizard fan…I would think that if you read the site you would know that. This is about a serious marketing mistake. Certainly those in the DC area would appreciate the right to state a contrary opinion or suggest a change in policy…

  • Rick

    By the way, sent a formal complaint through through papa john’s website. Here was the response-

    On behalf of Papa John’s Pizza, we would like to apologize for any
    inconvenience you encountered with your recent order from Papa John’s. We
    are truly sorry the problem from the restaurant caused your order not to
    meet expectations. Our goal is to provide not only a superior quality
    pizza, but also a World Class Customer Experience to our consumers at all
    times. Your comments have been sent to the Owners/Operators for this
    location and someone should be contacting you soon.

    Thank you for taking the time to complete the Internet Feedback form, you
    incident number is PJIN-7EATQA, Please refer to this number in any future
    correspondence. We want to encourage you to call your local Papa John’s
    whenever you have questions or comments, but if we can be of further
    assistance, please visit us at


    Consumer Services Team

    How generic is that?!

  • draftnik

    Rick, I got the same response to an email submission, with a different incident number. Should be fun to see how this all shakes out.

  • Dennis Nestor
  • Sarah Tonan

    Thank God a GOOD pizza joint didn’t pull that, or I’d really be in a quandary. As I remember it the last time I ate Papa John’s I was, in fact, a crybaby for several hours after. Awful.

  • Phil

    Would it not be worth remarking that, objectively speaking, LeBron was far from being a crybaby in that series? I have seen many crybabies in sports. I would even rank certain players I like, such as Kenny Lofton, as veritable crybabies. But LeBron didn’t even come close to that designation in the series as I witnessed it through replays and online video clips, including most of the plays involving technicals, accusations of rough play, etc.

    Someone who saw all the games please weigh in on this one. For the time being, I remain with the impression that not only was LeBron not hyping up during games the harsh play against him–which was announced as OFFICIAL WIZARDS TEAM STRATEGY, no less–he also refrained from making bitter comments about it during interviews. In short, the whole thing was just one big sore-loser fantasy as baked up by crybaby Wizards fans and topped off generously with the greed of Papa Johns marketers.

  • Jeremy Coyle

    Papa Johns sucks.

  • Jason

    Not to defend Papa John’s, since I work for a competitor, but I am willing to bet this shirt was a promotion done by the local franchisee group or by a particular group of franchisees without the knowledge of the Corporate PJ’s office.

    Just a guess, though.

  • Pistons

    I love the Papa John’s ads all over this page.

  • Rick

    About those Papa John’s ads…if you know how adsense works you know that you really don’t have a ton of control over who advertises on the site. It is supposed to be content generated, and before this incident there was never a Papa John’s ad on this site. I have submitted Papa John’s web address to be blocked in the ads. We’ll see if Google is able to keep them off.

    I assure you that it is annoying to me that they have one line of advertising here, but they certainly are not “all over this page.” Oh, never mind. I see you’re a Pistons fan. You aren’t capable of rational thought anyway.

  • bowie

    Token Wizards fan again. I’ve got nothing imflammatory to say. Just want to say that the Wizards did not say they were going to rough up Lebron as part of their strategy. I think the strongest thing said was that they did not want to allow Lebron any easy layups. Semantics? Maybe. But the “official team strategy” claims came later after some rough play on both sides and the media ran with it. This from a team that for years has been described as soft and ridiculed for letting Lebron waltz to the hoop in previous years. I think the Wizards as thugs plot line was basically untrue. There was tough play and rough fouls on both sides. Lebron’s great and he’s got our number but the Wizards aren’t thugs.

  • Phil

    Bowie: I can see how “official” might be an unwarranted qualification, but who can doubt that it was team strategy among the Wizards to foul LeBron hard, especially given that free throw shooting is his well-known Achilles heel? Does that mean that the team are a bunch of thugs? No. Point taken.

    However, your comment did not respond to my main point. Where is the evidence for the claim that LeBron acted like a “crybaby”? As far as I could tell, the evidence suggested that the opposite was true; that LeBron conducted himself fairly and in a sportsmanlike manner. LeBron did nothing to warrant that accusation, and his classy statements about his competitors gave no fuel to the hysteria in D.C.. So, until you or anyone else makes the case for LeBron having acted at any time like a “crybaby” by basing it on actual evidence (as opposed to on ill-will generated by sore-loser rationalizations or the desire to sell pizzas), then the whole charge of “crybaby” will continue to say a lot more about the Wizards fans who wore those shirts or shouted “overrated” at LeBron than it will about LeBron James.

  • Joe

    Dude…. Papa John’s has a large one topping pizza in Northeast Ohio for 23 cents (get it???) on Thursday, May 8 (Just in time for game 2!)

  • NBA Fan

    Are we talking about the same “CRYBABY” that got a technical in game 6?

  • CLE Fan

    If the city of Cleveland has any pride and self respect they will not redeem those crappy 23 cent pizzas Thursday and send a message loud and clear to PJ.

  • Pizza Hut’s better anyway

    PJs is bad pizza.

    But, for a boycott, this site might be good for this boycott. This way at least PJs (and everyone else) know how many people are participating.