Papa John’s Hires Bozoma To ‘Re-Culture’ Its Brand, Teams Begin Restoring Partnerships
Bozoma Saint John, who recently left her job as Uber’s chief brand officer to join a marketing agency, will lead the effort to fix Papa John’s tarnished image in the face of a racist comment by the pizza chain’s namesake.
The announcement was met with some skepticism on Twitter.
About 20 universities, teams and sports leagues dropped Papa John’s in June after its founder and former CEO, John Schnatter, admitted to using the n-word and apologized. Several Major League Baseball teams that severed ties with Papa John’s have restored their partnerships, which usually include free or discounted pies, according to The New York Post.
After leaving Uber, Bozoma started a new job at Endeavor Global Marketing as the chief marketing officer. She’ll be working with Papa John’s through the marketing agency, Forbes reported.
Papa John’s company founder and chairman John Schnatter used the N-word during a May media training call, but claimed it was taken out of context.
The brand must act quickly to redefine itself, Saint John told Adweek.
“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 said. “Our culture has become even more sensitive to anything we feel is outside of our moral compass, and as a brand we acknowledge that.”
Some of the busiinesses and organizations restored partnership in a show of solidarity with local franchisees of the pizza chain, who have experienced falling sales and boycotts after the controversies hurt the brand, Marketing Dive reported.
The New York Yankees decided to restore its partnership to support the local franchises that weren’t involved with racist comments, including use of the n-word … The Baltimore Orioles, Tampa Bay Rays, Washington Nationals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Minnesota Twins and Texas Rangers have also brought back their promotions with the pizza chain. The MLB may also be re-establishing its “Papa Slam” promotion, sources told the Post. Papa John’s announced last week that it is reducing some franchisees’ fees to help them deal with the fallout from the controversy.
In the past, companies which needed to improve their corporate culture recruited a person of color to be the face of the change they hope to create, Janice Gassam wrote in Forbes. Gassam helps organizations create a more inclusive environment.
“This practice becomes problematic … when companies strive for the appearance of diversity and inclusion rather than the implementation of actual practices that will produce long-term changes,” wrote Gassam, who is professor teaching management courses at Sacred Heart University. “This is defined as cosmetic diversity, which is the appearance rather than the actuality of diversity and can lead to negative outcomes in an organization.”