Papa John's Targets Fantasy Football Players


Football and pizza go together like peanut butter and jelly. In its first year as the "Official Pizza Sponsor of the NFL," Papa John's wants to make sure its brand makes the connection with the more than 27 million fantasy football players worldwide.

Using its Facebook presence, Papa John's will look to insert itself into the various fantasy football leagues by offering league commissioners (or whomever submits an entry) the opportunity to attend the real-life NFL 2011 draft, as the company searches for the "ingredients to a better league," says Melissa Richards-Person, senior director of advertising and promotions for Papa John's.

"We've really been using our Facebook page to establish connections with Papa John's fans whose interests spill out into other things," she tells Marketing Daily. "We tend to think pizza and football go well together, and we can talk to people who are avid fans."



The leagues, which will be registered through Papa John's Facebook page, will be judged through a mix of serious (such as year-established, original owners still participating and scoring system) and playful (location of draft party, food served at league events, trophy quality) categories. The company is still working with the NFL on the details and who will be doing the judging, Richards-Person says.

According to the company, fantasy football players spend an average of nine hours a week setting their rosters, checking scores and talking trash. The dedication is a huge boon to marketers looking to capitalize on the football season.

To truly get into the spirit of fantasy football, Papa John's is also creating downloadable and exchangeable Facebook "badges" for players to exchange with each other through the week. (Proposed badges include designations such as "Better Smack Talk," "Over Thinker Stinker" and "Whiner of the Week.")

"They like to brag about all the great things they do and trash talk," Richards-Persons says. "We can use this to create a connection."

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