Shaquille O’Neal, Shaq for short, has been involved with Papa John’s for some time in an advisory role working as a board member and owning multiple franchises himself. His latest involvement with the Pizza conglomerate comes in the form of a commercial. Shaq starred in a recently aired Papa John’s commercial highlighting his personal connection and involvment with the brand.
Many have been quick to say that Shaq is becoming the new face of Papa John’s, referring to him as Papa Shaq. The buzz around this comes after the original founder and face of Papa John’s was ousted surrounding a controversy that hurt the brand. Although Papa John’s won’t change its name to Papa Shaq’s anytime soon, they do indeed have their new face and spokesperson.
Since retiring from professional basketball in 2011, Shaq has continued to build his business and investment portfolio. In addition, Shaq has remained in the public eye/limelight starring in movies such as Grown Ups 2 and appearing on national television multiple times a week during the NBA season, working as an analyst for TNT. His likable and comical personality have allowed him to enjoy this sustained professional success.
Given his recognizability it would make sense for Papa John’s to use Shaq as the new face of their brand. The commercial that recently aired, hints at this possibility and has moved the brand in a new direction. Aimed at recovering from their original founder’s scandal, the pizza brand has changed its slogan from “Better ingredients, better pizza, it’s Papa John’s” to “Better ingredients, better pizza, it’s a better day.”
This change marked by Shaq’s increased involvement represents a new age for the 3 decade old brand. Going forward, talents like Peyton Manning could take on an increased role with the brand similar to Shaq, given his prior involvement with the brand’s advertising campaigns. Using Shaq and Manning to bolster their advertising campaign will aid Papa John’s in bettering their reputation and rebranding themselves as they move away from their issues of the past.