By Barry Janoff
April 28, 2014: Papa John's, which is the official pizza of the NFL, the Super Bowl and Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, continues to make inroads into the NBA.
The brand has signed a deal with Paul George of the Indiana Pacers, who has been named to two All-Star teams during his three-year NBA career.
Papa John's already has an official alliance with the Pacers.
Financial terms of the deal with George were not disclosed.
George's first official marketing effort for the pizza maker is a commercial for the new Sweet Chili Chicken Pizza. It broke locally this past weekend and goes national this week during broadcasts of NBA playoff games, including Indiana's first-round series against the Atlanta Hawks.
George also joins Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana on Papa John's roster. George appears in the spot alongside John Schnatter, Papa John’s founder, chairman and CEO, who is a native of Indianapolis.
“Paul has captured the hearts of NBA fans and we’re happy to have him in the Papa John’s family,” Schnatter said in a statement “We had a great time filming this commercial, and as you can see, he’s a terrific spokesperson for the Papa John’s brand.”
Since signing its deal with the Pacers in 2013, Papa John's, the team and George have worked together to support and raise money for Riley House for Children at Indiana University Health.
George also has deals that include Gatorade and Nike.
The media buy includes ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, MLB, Fox Deportes, A&E, Bravo, CMT, Discovery, E!, FX, National Geographic and TNT; and such syndicated shows as Inside Edition, Judge Judy, Castle and Game Changers.
In the spot, shot in a Papa John's location in Indianapolis, George is wearing a Papa John's apron and approaches Schnatter. "Papa, I'm ready to join your star line-up," says George.
"Great, Paul,," rays Schnatter. Then, tossing up raw pizza, he adds, "This is how make my dough."
"Wow!" says George. Then, pulling out his cell phone, George says to Schnatter, "And this is how I make my dough," as we see footage of George dunking a basketball.
"Sweet," says Schnatter. "Like my new Sweet Chili Chicken Pizza." The spot ends with George dunking a slice of pizza into a toppings mix and both saying in unison, "Better ingredients. Better pizza. Papa John's." (See the full spot here.)
According to George, “I’m excited to be a part of the Papa John’s family and had a lot of fun making this commercial with Papa John. I can tell you first-hand that the new Sweet Chili Chicken Pizza is a slam dunk and is the perfect pizza for basketball fans to order as they enjoy the playoffs.”
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