Wow, an advertiser Papa John’s is blaming the NFL player protests for lack of sales. Hmm, is that the reason?

Various news sources put the NFL ratings decline at about 5-6% this year, which is a pretty big deal. Kneeling protests? Sure, they’ve added to it. So has politics in general. So has baseball.

Fox chief executive officer James Murdoch said he believes ratings are down because of a “overproliferation” of football. In other words, we’ve got Thursday night football, college football all Saturday, plus pro football all day Sunday, and finally Sunday night.

The 2 Guyz On Marketing thinks there may be several other reasons for a lack of sales for Papa Johns.

  • Too much advertising and promotion, in and around the game.
    Called clutter.
  • Fewer “people,” under the nine P’s of Marketing are watching NFL games. Ratings are down. Advertising and media pros are commenting too much football, in too many places. Oversaturation.
  • Fewer people means advertising has less impact
  • Papa John’s product:
    – One journalist described their product’s as “cardboardy pizza topped with meat-adjacent salt-discs”
    – A former manager said about the pizza sauce: “the red sauce is candied….it’s full of sugar.”;
  • One pizza and its toppings were described as “It’s just grease on top of grease.”
  • Advertising fatigue
  • New product introductions by competitors
  • Competitive marketing strategies
  • Competitive promotion
  • Seasonality
  • Competitor’s products
  • Price discounting doesn’t always increase sales.

NFL’s major TV promotional contracts will come up in four or five years. The major advertisers and partners, another of the nine P’s of Marketing, spend a whopping $7.3 billion a year on their NFL deals.

What to do? Well, never before has the need for ROI been so prevalent in advertising. 2 Guyz Brian Hemsworth often says in class, “People who advertise in the same place for a long time do it because it works, not because it doesn’t. When it doesn’t work, change it.”

By the way on Wall Street, Papa John’s share price fell 11+% on the same day Papa John’s blamed the NFL.