Pizza Hut Offers Free Pizza for Life for Off-Script Debate Question

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President Barack Obama PizzaDo the presidential candidates prefer pepperoni or sausage on their pizza? If one gutsy attendee at the second presidential debate poses this question to Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, Pizza Hut will provide him or her with free pizza for life.

Unlike the first debate, which was moderated by Jim Lehrer, the second is a town hall-style format. Undecided voters, selected by the Gallup Organization, will be asking the candidates pre-screened questions at Hofstra University on October 16th. But because the debate is live, one pizza-hungry participant could go off-script, in a commercially sponsored echo of a question famously put to President Bill Clinton during a 1994 town hall sponsored by MTV: "Is it boxers or briefs?"

"We recognize there are a lot of serious issues to be debated, but we also know a lot less serious -- but no less important -- ones are being discussed every night inside houses across the country," said Kurt Kane, CMO of Pizza Hut Inc., a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc. (YUM), in a press release. "So for the candidates to be able to show that they're in tune with all the issues, we felt a pizza-related question on behalf of The Pizza Party was very appropriate for a town hall debate."
Cast Your Ballot:
Sausage3089 (16.6%)
Pepperoni6112 (32.9%)
Supreme6752 (36.3%)
Cheese2646 (14.2%)

The Pizza Party is Pizza Hut's election-themed marketing campaign, announced last week. The party's "candidate" is the restaurant's Big Dinner Box; customers are encouraged to show their support by signing up online at PizzaHut.com/PizzaParty. Those who register will receive free stuffed pizza rollers with their next online order.

But a much larger reward awaits the debate audience member who is willing to go through with the pepperoni-or-sausage stunt: Pizza Hut will give them an annual $520 gift card for a period of 30 years. Alternatively, they can choose a $15,600 check.

Other companies are also looking for publicity with election-based marketing campaigns. JetBlue Airways (JBLU) is offering 1,000 voters a chance to win a free flight out of the country if their candidate of choice loses. And Cabbage Patch Kids maker JAKKS Pacific (JAKK) will be auctioning a line of dolls that resemble the candidates, their VPs, and Michelle Obama, as a fundraiser for Rock the Vote.

What do you think of marketing campaigns based around a presidential election? Should companies respect the seriousness of these debates, or is it OK to have a some fun? Sound off in the comments, or tweet us @Daily_Finance.




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197 Comments

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Sean

This is simple... Pizza Hut... back the #*%$ up... Your advertising has no place on this forum... We don't care if you think its cute, its not, and its advertising... (fast food at that) which has helped get this country in its health dilemna. Stay in your lane PH... you have no place interupting important debates for your benifit. Shame on you. Your now off my list of pizza options for life.... sheesh!

October 12 2012 at 10:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
edzackly

Now that the issue is printed on the internet the contestants will be waiting for the question. You might as well put it on the script as a possibility.

October 11 2012 at 1:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
spo1962

I don't buy Pizza hut Pizza often and if this is asked this will ensure that I never buy it again. There are too many important issues that face us for time to be wasted like this in a presidental debate. Shameful.

October 11 2012 at 10:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lola

This is a very serious debate and should be respected,not a lot of silliness,our country is at stake and should be on subjects such as the economy,foreign policies and not on PIZZA.
Lola

October 11 2012 at 9:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
intimidator2c

If some Idiot ask this question, they ought to be fired and banned from any other election debate. No wonder I do not eat at Pizza Hut. Proves that everything is done for money in this country. What values these companies have. Just like we bail out GM and they annouce that they are building a plant down Mexico for the new 2014 Silverado's. Another Obama screw up on the bail out. Help GM and they bail out and take jobs to Mexico

October 11 2012 at 9:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to intimidator2c's comment
Shirley George

My brother would have lost his pension.. he worjed for GM for 30 yrs before he retired. Did you realize about all the workes in this country who made parts??? Al over this country they would have lost their jobs...Idiot

October 11 2012 at 7:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
whendoesitmatter

This is a stupid gimmick for cheap advertisement.Whoever ask this question should be removed from the debate.Hey yum,why don't you give your employees more money,instead of being the cheap bastards you are.

October 11 2012 at 9:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rita Lenzi-Stoll

How cheeeeezy!

October 11 2012 at 9:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
edennism26

Pizza Hut is no longer welcome at my house.

October 11 2012 at 9:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
edennism26

That this debate is fodder for a pizza company is pathetic enough.

If either of the two candidates stoop so low as to answer this ludicrous question, neither deserves to be elected.

October 11 2012 at 9:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ahrcshaw

It will never get pass the pre-question test. Or should I say it should never get pass the the pre-question test. But it got media attention and that is what they were after.

October 11 2012 at 9:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ahrcshaw's comment
SchallSJ

The debate is live. It wouldn't get through the pre-screening process but since it is live, anything can happen.

October 11 2012 at 9:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply