What is in this article?:
Pizza Patrón, Carl’s Jr. and others cause a stir with commercials
Pizza Patrón’s next limited-time offer, “La Chingona,” starts Monday, but news of its controversial name already has led some franchisees to opt against selling it, and some Spanish-language broadcasters will not run ads for the product. The Dallas-based brand has managed through a public relations storm before, as it did with its “Pizza por Pesos” promotion in 2007 and its “Pizza por Favor” offer in 2012.
Yet Pizza Patrón is hardly alone among restaurants that faced an uproar over advertisements. Whether or not they expected or sought the outsize attention, here are five recent marketing campaigns that courted controversy.
Pizza Patrón’s “La Chingona”
Campaign ran: March 2014
Why the fuss: Pizza Patrón’s large pizza topped with a jalapeño-infused pepperoni was so spicy during the menu R&D phase that the chain’s marketing team, many of whom share the Mexican-American background of Pizza Patrón’s core customer, responded that it was “chingón,” a word with very positive connotations among Mexicans but often misunderstood to mean something crass among other Hispanic groups or non-Spanish speakers. In response, some franchisees and Spanish-language broadcasters have opted out of the promotion entirely. Yet Pizza Patrón has poked fun at “being censored for speaking Mexican,” changing the name of the product in marketing materials to “La Ch!#gona,” and nonetheless has very high expectations for sales of the pizza.