For Papa John's, football season still means Peyton Manning.
The retired quarterback stars in the pizza chain's newest commercial debuting Monday. The spot begins by paying tribute to Mr. Manning's career, then shows him at a party where guests include Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt and Papa John's founder John Schnatter. Mr. Manning, rather than relaxing and eating pizza, is busy perfecting cupcakes featuring the three men's faces. Apparently he has been working on his cake decorating skills when he's not too busy calling Eli Manning or going grocery shopping in spots for DirecTV.
While the cupcakes are not for sale, Papa John's is using the spot to help sell a new dessert, a $6 Cinnamon Pull-Aparts. It is also promoting a two medium two-topping pizza for $6.99 each offer.
It's no surprise Mr. Manning would continue to appear in Papa John's marketing. He has worked with the brand for years, including owning locations in Colorado. And he's clearly close with Mr. Schnatter, one of the first people to celebrate with Mr. Manning on the field at the end of Super Bowl 50.
Of course, Papa John's is also playing up its connection to Mr. Watt, with whom it signed a multi-year deal in 2015. This year, he will be featured on a pizza box nationally. Papa John's has been the official pizza sponsor of the NFL since 2010. It is also the preferred pizza of 23 NFL clubs, including Mr. Watt's Texans, as well as the two teams Mr. Manning played for, the Indianapolis Colts and the Denver Broncos.
Grey is Papa John's creative agency, with Initiative as its media agency and Edelman handling public relations.
The spot is set to run on ESPN, NFL Network, Spike, FX and Comedy Central, the company said.