By Barry Janoff
October 26, 2012: Peyton Manning has been part of Papa John's marketing for two years. Now, the NFL quarterback has upped the ante on this alliance by becoming a franchise owner.
Manning will own 21 locations in the Denver area, according to the company. CEO John Schnatter said that having Manning as a franchisee "is a huge win for our brand, especially for our customers in Denver, where our business has never been better.” Financial terms were not disclosed.
Manning, in his first season with the Denver Broncos, appeared in a Papa John's marketing campaign last year that launched in conduction with Super Bowl XLVI. He has reprised his role this season, with Papa John's in the third year of a multi-year contract as the official pizza of the NFL.
Manning will "officially" disclose his status as a Papa John’s franchisee on camera Sunday during a custom integration on NBC’s Football Night In America telecast before the Broncos host the New Orleans Saints. Manning and Schnatter then "will unveil for fans another big treat for Halloween" during the Sunday Night Football telecast from Denver, according to Papa John's.
"I’ve been a fan of Papa John’s pizza for a long time, and now knowing John Schnatter, his team and the business intimately over the past year, I am thrilled to formally join Papa John’s as a franchisee in partnership with the brand,” Manning said inn a statement. “It’s a smart investment now and will be long after I’m done playing football."
In addition to its league affiliation, Papa John’s is also the official pizza of 15 NFL teams, including the Broncos, which Manning said makes the alliance "even more exciting.”
Manning’s involvement with Papa John’s dates to 2011, when he was featured in Papa John’s" Super Bowl XLVI Coin Toss Experience." Papa John’s awarded a free pizza and 2-liter Pepsi Max to all members of its Papa Rewards online customer loyalty program after people correctly called the opening coin toss for Super Bowl XLVI.
Manning and Schnatter started the 2012 NFL regular season by offering loyaty program consumers the chance to win another free large one-topping pizza. In the TV spot, Manning convinced Schnatter to give away two million large one-topping pizzas to Papa Rewards members throughout the regular season – double the number of pizzas Papa John’s gave away last regular season.
Current Papa Rewards members and those who enroll at the Papa John's Web site have the chance to be randomly selected to receive one of the 120,000 free large one-topping pizzas each week during the NFL regular season. Consumers must be members of Papa Rewards by midnight of the Sunday Night Football game on NBC to be eligible for that week’s drawing. (Full details here.)
Manning and Papa John's are expected to be part of Super Bowl XLVII marketing this February but the company has not released details.
Papa John’s has locations in 32 countries on five continents and in September opened its 4,000 restaurant. Earlier this month, the company teamed with Taylor Swift for the release of her CD, Red.
In addition to the Broncos, the company has official status with the Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, Tennessee Titans and Washington Redskins.