Have you seen them yet? The new TV commercials featuring Shaquille O’Neal and his favorite pizza, Papa John’s? The headline on the business news website CNBC reads: “Papa John’s new CEO Rob Lynch plans bigger role for Shaq.” In fact, Papa John’s has been making several big moves to shore up and expand the business after a rough couple of years.
Recently, the company Rob Lynch as their new CEO. Lynch has been the top person at the Arby’s fast-food chain, and he’s generally credited with helping to turn that struggling business around with some new marketing campaigns and other changes. Lynch told CNBC he’s a “big fan” of the work Shaq has been doing for the company, as a Brand Ambassador and on the company’s board of directors. Lynch says he sees an even bigger role for Shaq as the company moves ahead.
Lynch takes over from former CEO Steve Ritchie. In a recent interview with CNBC, Lynch said, “Priority number one is, frankly for me, is doing a lot of listening and really engaging with key stakeholders and franchisees, as well as employees and the management team, to understand where they think the biggest opportunities and challenges are.”
Papa John’s has been going through a lot of changes in top management and in other areas since the troubles with company founder John Schnatter. Former CEO Ritchie took over about 18 months ago. He’d been hand-picked by Schnatter as his successor, after the company got into hot water with the National Football League. Schnatter resigned from the company – but remains its largest shareholder – last July after he admitted to using a racial slur on a conference call with the NFL.
How about Shaq? If you haven’t seen the new TV commercial campaign yet, you will soon. The commercials take off on the company’s slogan of “better ingredients, better pizza.” The new spots jump off from that slogan to talk about “It’s a Better Day” and feature Shaq delivering pizza (and lots more).
One of the commercials shows Shaq arriving for work at the Papa John’s headquarters and talking to the staff. In others, you’ll see the new Papa John’s “Shaq On Board” bus and the Big Man delivering pizza, as well as making it in company stores. (See the full commercial below.)
For Shaq, it’s all about the “fun factor” in his businesses and investments: “I had a blast making these commercials and you’ll see that come through on screen,” O’Neal said in a statement. “As a Papa John’s board member and franchisee, I’m invested in the business based on my belief that pizza is fun and it brings us all together. The 120,000 team members all over the world make the company what it is, so it was important to help bring that message through in the ads.”
Shaq is not only on the Board of the company, he owns at least nine company franchise locations in the Atlanta area… with more to come.