Pizza Hut said Aug. 12 it filed suit against Papa John's International, the fiercely competitive pizza chain, charging that the company has "engaged in a systematic campaign of consumer deception" in its marketing. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Dallas. The company singles out the Louisville, Ky.-based chain's advertising, point-of-purchase materials, pizza boxes and store signage.The advertising agency for Papa John's is Fricks/Firestone, Atlanta. Dallas-based Pizza Hut, a division of Tricon Global Restaurants, is challenging Papa John's ad theme, "Better ingredients, better pizza," and what it is claims is a "deceptive implication" that Papa John's uses "fresh" tomato sauce while competitors do not.In response to complaints from Pizza Hut last spring, Papa John's voluntarily revised a TV spot to show sauce being poured from a can, rather than showing tomatoes being plucked from a vine. That move was noted last month as an "adequate clarification" by the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. Papa John's could not be reached at deadline Wednesday.
Copyright August 1998, Crain Communications Inc.