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How do you rebrand Papa John's when the problem is Papa John?
13 July 2018, 10:21 | Charlene Valdez
“Regardless of the context I apologize,” Papa John’s founder John Schnatter said Wednesday
The conference call with the marketing company was meant to help him return to the public eye. Papa John's got a taste of that previous year, when Schnatter stepped down as CEO after blaming disappointing pizza sales on the outcry surrounding football players kneeling during the national anthem.
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell says he would remove Papa John's name from the University of Louisville's football stadium if he "had the ability to do that".
A Papa John's spokesperson confirmed to the BBC that it will erase its founder's image from all advertising.
"The difficultly Papa John's faces in pivoting the brand away from Schnatter is that they first need to treat this as a crisis and then redefine what their brand is and what it stands for", said Deb Gabor, CEO of Sol Marketing.
The school has a deal that runs through 2040 with Schnatter himself and not the Papa John's brand, but if Schnatter leaves the company he can rename the building, according to ESPN.
Schnatter acknowledged the report was true Wednesday and issued an apology.
Fallout has already included Major League Baseball indefinitely suspending a promotion with Papa John's that offered people discounts at the pizza chain after a player hit a grand slam.
The company announced Wednesday that Schnatter had resigned, hours after he apologized for using a racial slur during a May conference call.
Bendapudi said Schnatter was apologetic in a conversation they had recently and that he was "very supportive" of taking his name off the Center for Free Enterprise.
Earlier this week, Schnatter used the n-word in a conference call orchestrated by a PR company created to prevent future PR screw-ups. The promotion was suspended after CEO John Schnatter resigned in the wake of racial remarks. The person was not aware of any plans to change the pizza chain's name. "Regardless of the context, I apologize".
Several current Louisville football players expressed on Thursday a desire to have the name of the stadium changed as well. Netflix said Jonathan Friedland used the word in a meeting of public relations staff about sensitive words. "From our team standpoint, our partnership is with local owner/operators in Phoenix and completely separate from the national company". In addition, Schnatter will keep his shares in the company and remain the largest shareholder with 30 percent of the pizza chain's stock.
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