In an attempt to revamp it’s tarnished image Papa Johns is reportedly tapping into the marketing talents of Bozoma Saint John to help the pizza chain get back into the good graces of the consumers after the disgraced CEO and founder found himself in hot water for using the n-word.
Saint John, who has held high-profile roles at Uber, Apple Music and Pepsi, is the new chief marketing officer at Endeavor Global Marketing— and out of all her roles this is probably the most challenging job trying to help the beleaguered brand regain its footing and fix its image, Black Enterprise reports
Former CEO John Schnatter was forced to step down after news broke that while on a conference call with the pizza chain’s executives and a Laundry Service marketing agency they discussed preventing potential PR blunders like the one Papa John’s faced after Schnatter blamed the NFL for slowed sales amid the Take a Knee protests last year.
Sources say Schnatter used the n-word during the call in May while responding to a question about how he plans to distance himself from racist groups online.
“Colonel Sanders called blacks n—–s,” Schnatter allegedly said.
The disgraced CEO is now blaming a media agency and a magazine for conspiring to ruin him, the HuffPost reports.
According to Forbes, Schnatter reportedly made additional comments about his life in Indiana, where, he claimed people used to drag Black folks from trucks until they died. Forbes reports that Laundry Service owner, Casey Wasserman terminated the company’s contract with Papa John’s after learning about the remarks.
Schnatter fired back after he was terminated and said Laundry Service tried to extort $6 million from the pizza company to withhold information about the inflammatory conversation.
“They tried to extort us and we held firm and they took what I said and ran to Forbes,” Schnatter told Louisville station WLKY. “Forbes printed it and it went viral.”
“This is a really pivotal moment not just for Papa John’s, but for all corporate businesses and all brands that service a larger group of people,” Saint John told Adweek. “Our culture has become even more sensitive to anything we feel is outside of our moral compass, and as a brand we acknowledge that.”
Bozoma’s team will reportedly begin working across all of Papa John’s channels immediately and new marketing campaign will debut in the fall.
“This isn’t an apology ad campaign,” she said to Adweek. “It has to be cultural and deeply moving … the 120,000 employees of Papa John’s are not defined by one individual. How can we as EGM not just create a new narrative based on a value proposition, but convey what is truly inside Papa John’s?”