Papa John’s is pinning much of its recovery on the star power of Shaquille O’Neal, who is starting to pop up in marketing for the brand.
The No. 4 U.S. pizza chain, which a year ago was dealing with the fresh fallout of the use of a racial slur by founder John Schnatter, is still seeing its sales fall. Now, though, it says this year’s decline in sales at longstanding locations shouldn’t be as steep as it had anticipated, in part thanks to the optimism it has about O’Neal’s work as a brand ambassador.
While the retired NBA star isn’t in TV commercials yet, he posted about Papa John’s on social media last week. A quick video shared by O’Neal on Twitter and Instagram took viewers inside a Papa John’s board meeting — O’Neal joined the board earlier this year — and showed an item being taste-tested that he says is called the Papadia. The "secret" video was, of course, quickly commented on by the company's own social media accounts.