The wait is over. Papa John’s newest brand ambassador, NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal, is starring in his first marketing campaign for the pizza chain.
The “Better Day” spot featuring O’Neal rolls out nationwide September 5. Across three TV ads, O’Neal and Papa John’s employees will make pizza and engage with customers in LA as deliveries are made.
“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.”
Along with joining Papa John’s board of directors in March and becoming an investor in nine Atlanta locations, O’Neal also agreed to step in as a brand ambassador, the company said.
Papa John’s slogan “Better Ingredients. Better Pizza,” was the main inspiration for campaign. “[It’s] about more than just the high-quality pizza for which Papa John’s is known; it’s about making a positive impact and bringing fun to guests worldwide,” the company said in a statement.
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“Shaquille has a dynamic presence and sharp business sense. We wanted him to take the wheel in these ads and show it truly is a better day at Papa John’s,” Karlin Linhardt, Papa John’s global chief marketing officer, said in a statement. “You’ll see in the commercials Shaquille being Shaquille—visiting team members at Papa John’s restaurants, showing off his charisma, embodying the changes so pervasive across Papa John’s.”
This is the first campaign from Papa John’s new partner Camp + King. Award-winning filmmaker Amir Farhang directed the TV spots. Farhang previously worked with brands like Adidas, Nike, and Dove as well as with O’Neal.
"These spots are meant to show how Shaquille is not playing a role of ‘spokesperson,’ but instead is playing a real role of being more deeply invested in the company as both a store owner and member of the board,” Roger Camp, chief creative officer and co-founder of Camp + King, said in a statement.
This is just the first part of a larger campaign Papa John’s has in the works. Over the next few months, O’Neal is set to star in more advertisements and in-person community engagements across the country.