Papa John's to Ring in New Year With Times Square Pizza Party

Will Sponsor Webcast and Confetti Drop, Hand Out Pies on Big Night

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CHICAGO ( -- Americans love to order pizza during the playoffs, the Super Bowl and, apparently, New Year's Eve, the night before the traditional diet resolutions.

To celebrate, Papa John's is sponsoring the Times Square webcast with Countdown Entertainment and the Times Square Alliance, as well as a 10:00 p.m. confetti drop. Papa's confetti will be 6-inch, pizza-shaped coupons for its "cinnapie" product. The pizza purveyor will also be streaming Countdown Entertainment's video, which also appears on the Times Square monitors, on its Facebook page.

Moreover, on New Year's Eve in Times Square, Papa John founder and CEO John Schnatter will wade into the crowd to deliver pizzas. It's expected to rain and snow tomorrow night, but the efforts are all in the name of advertising as the stunt will be the latest installation of its "Papa's in the House" ad campaign that launched earlier this year. In those ads, Mr. Schnatter arrives at a birthday party, a field hockey game, a fire station -- and now the crossroads of the world -- delivering pizzas and sometimes taking part in ensuing festivities.

The campaign, from agency Z Group, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has been a boon for Papa John's in awareness, recall and fending off a decline in same-store sales. Papa John's same-store sales were flat in the most recent quarters while most rivals report declines.

Kicking off 'an even bigger year'
"I can't think of a better place than Times Square to reflect on the end of a tremendous 2009 and kick off an even bigger year ahead," Mr. Schnatter said in a statement. "Papa John's is excited to be a part of this iconic celebration which, like our pizza, brings friends and families together."

Papa John's expects to sell nearly 5 million slices of pizza, more than 600,000 pies, throughout the U.S. tomorrow night. New Year's Eve is one of the biggest nights in delivery pizza. It ranks among Halloween, the night before Thanksgiving, and of course the Super Bowl.

Domino's is also getting in on the New Year's Eve action, with a two-pizzas-for-$5.99 deal. The chain is currently focusing on marketing its reformulated dough, for which it recently launched a new campaign from agency Crispin Porter & Bogusky. In it, the chain admits that consumers thought their dough tasted like cardboard and the sauce tasted like ketchup. The marketer has reworked the entire recipe and is offering the new pies at a discount. Consumers who don't like it will get a refund.

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