Pizza Hut Gets Burned Trying to Get a Piece of the Presidential Debate Audience


Pizza Hut isn’t the first franchise to stick its foot in its mouth, but it might be the first to do so in a political arena.


Last week, Pizza Hut offered one of the attendees at Tuesday’s Town Hall presidential debate at Hofstra University free pizza for life if they asked one of the candidates, “Sausage or pepperoni?”


As Kurt Kane, the pizza franchise’s chief marketing officer said, some of the response Pizza Hut received wasn’t positive. Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report took a stab at the franchise by saying, “What could be more American than using our electoral process for product placement?” (He kind of has a point.) And Gawker snarked, “Want Free Pizza Hut For Life? Just Make a Mockery of the American Democratic System on Live TV.”


Seems like a high price to pay for free pizza a week for up to 30 years.


Pizza Hut (fortunately) changed direction following the negative press it received. The pizza franchise will now randomly select one pizza lover who voted on the sausage vs. pepperoni topic on the Pizza Hut website this past Tuesday.


How has your franchise incorporated the election into its marketing? 

Could a Sports Franchise Have the Answer to Funding After School Sports?

A franchise might just have the solution as to how America can put its youth back on the global playing field– literally.


The education system has seen its share of cutbacks thanks to the Great Recession. A report released last year indicates that cuts to education funding has led to:


  • reduction in early childhood education programs
  • increases in class size
  • termination of art, music, physical education, and other elective classes
  • elimination of Advanced Placement courses, extracurricular activities, special science, foreign language, and technology programs

To some, sports might not be a “subject” but that’s not to say that sports don’t have their place in the education system. The disintegration of organized sports in America’s school systems is a major problem, as a recent study of 317 middle school students commissioned by the American College of Sports Medicine found that:


  • The fittest group of students scored almost 30% higher on standardized tests than the least fit group;
  • The least fit group had grades in four core classes that were 13-20% lower than the fittest group.


So, what do we do? As it turns out, the franchise Sports Image might just have an answer.

As a marketing consulting agency for grassroots sports teams that are in need, Sports Image solicits sponsorships from various businesses– large and small– for teams that need everything from new uniforms to a new scoreboard.


As President and CEO Eric Hortsman puts it, “Sports Image is a booster club on steroids.”


To date, Sports Image has given over $10 million in equipment and $1 million in cash to elementary school, middle school, high school, public recreation department, religious organization, Division II college, and Division III college teams.


Unsurprisingly, Sports Image has watched the need for its services rise considerably since the Great Recession. Then again, the public and not for profit sectors always need financial help, something that the franchisees of Sports Image are happy to give.


“A lot of companies do good and charitable work. Sports Image, at its core, is helping others,” says Hortsman.


Tom Carmichael, a Sports Image franchisee in Virginia, loves what Sports Image does for communities, as he’s “really been taken aback by how schools are hurting.”


“Being a Sports Image franchisee means having your own business but also being able to understand the wants and needs of a school, and then being able to go out and get it for them,” he says.


As for the sponsors, “They love it,” he says. “They get good advertising from it.”


Prior to becoming a Sports Image franchisee, Tom spent 33 years working his way up the corporate ladder at the same company, which he admits was a wonderful opportunity. He noticed that fewer and fewer new hires had a “team mentality”, something that had been instilled in him as a youth sports player.


During his college years, Tom played baseball and basketball despite being legally blind in one eye. He credits his coaches with giving him confidence in his abilities despite his handicap. In addition, he’s still best friends with his teammates from his college years.


“It’s like putting on an old jacket; it just fits me really well.”


For more information on becoming a Sports Image franchisee visit the Franchise Clique website.