You are currently viewing Papa John’s “Shaq-A-Roni” Ad, is “Pack-A-Baloney” Bad

Papa John’s “Shaq-A-Roni” Ad, is “Pack-A-Baloney” Bad

Have you seen the latest Papa John’s pizza commercial with the famous basketball star Shaquille O’Neal?  “This is my new Shaq-A-Roni pizza, extra cheese, extra pepperoni, right to the edge, and the biggest slices in Papa John’s history,” Mr. O’Neill says, adding, “but it’s Bigger than pizza, cause $1 from every Pizza goes to support communities.” Like the corporations who discovered that it is cheaper to pay the fines for polluting, rather than stop their polluting, Papa John’s has learned that they can sell a lot more pizza, and make a lot more money, by pretending to care (while actually paying only a tiny percentage of their added revenue to support communities). This Papa John’s Pizza marketing strategy is wrong on just about every level. Aside from their puke worthy claim to use a portion of the sales to “support” communities, the food products that they are shilling are amongst the most harmful on the planet. And what’s worse, they’re targeting children too. But before we get to that, let’s back up a little bit, and gain some perspective. 
“People are fed by the food industry, which pays no attention to health, and are treated by the health industry, which pays no attention to food.” – Wendell Berry
Capitalism and our broken food and healthcare systems are the biggest reasons why so many people in the United States are sick. But celebrities like Shaquille O’Neal, are a big part of the problem too. During an interview on HBO’s Real Sports, Mr. O’Neal was quoted as saying that he will not promote a product unless he likes it or uses it himself, and that if he is going to sell to the people, he has to be honest to the people. Really? Shaquile O’Neal seems like a nice person, but where do we draw the line? Clearly, he hasn’t done any research on the many health risks that are associated with just about every toxic ingredient and product that Papa John’s sells. And why would he? The media adores him, and there seems to be an almost secret admiration society in many pockets of our corporate run country that says that greed is good, and too much is never enough. The Greed Syndrome? Narcissism? Maybe.

“Wealth is like sea-water; the more we drink, the thirstier we become; and the same is true of fame.” – Arthur Schopenhauer

Shaquille O’Neal is not the first, nor will he be the last celebrity athlete to leverage his fame to peddle harmful products to young consumers in order to increase his own personal fortune.
Click here to learn more about how we are a culture of celebrity, not morality.
Click here to learn how people like Hank Aaron and Warren Buffett are a part of the problem too.
Here is the net-worth of some of today’s top celebrity athletes, and the junk food products they endorse: 
Michael jordan – $1.6 billion (McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Gatorade, Nike)
Tom Brady – $600 million (Pitchman for a Subway fast food commercial that promotes bacon, processed meat, and other harmful food products)
Lebron james – $1 billion (Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Blaze Pizza, PepsiCo, Sprite, Vitaminwater, Powerade)
Alex Rodriguez – $400 million (PepsiCo)
Peyton Manning –  $250 million (PepsiCo, Oreo cookies, Gatorade, Papa John’s Pizza)
Shaquille O’Neal – $400 million (Taco-Bell, Burger King, Papa John’s Pizza, PepsiCo, Erectile Dysfunction medications (ED is mostly caused by the saturated fat and cholesterol in the animal products that he promotes)).
“What can you say about Tom Brady other than that he is truly the “GOAT” in all sports, he personifies the jingoistic George W. Bush era, the white nationalist Trump era, and the nothing will fundamentally change Biden era. Jordan and Gretzky couldn’t personify 3 presidents.” – The Beer Nerd (Chapo Trap House)
I don’t know what to make of Tom Brady other than he does seem to be more about the brand than anything else. He is definitely the GOAT of NFL QBs, but like Michael Jordan, he has been careful to never really stand for anything that might hurt his sales (TB12 brand), and his popularity. 
Some people may argue that it is all okay because athletes often donate a percentage of their earnings to charity. I would only ask that you imagine a scenario where I am a role model to my students, and I turn around and sell them cigarettes for a large profit. Over time, many of my buyers (students) become addicted to my products and develop destructive lifetime habits as a result (some even get sick and die, or require medications due to the cigarettes). Imagine too that I make $1 million by exploiting the trust that my students had in me, but I soon realize that I need an image boost, so I announce that I am going to donate $25,000 to help with any financial difficulties that my buyers (students) may be experiencing. Is it fair that at the end of the day, I could walk away with 97.5% of my profits, and possibly look like a hero, after I have knowingly sold toxic products for years that have caused untold amounts of pain, suffering, and even death? Crazy, right? But these athletes and corporations are doing just that, and it is even worse because the meat, dairy and junk food products that they are pitching, also cause unimaginable misery and horrors for animals, while also contributing mightily to the destruction of our planet. 
But it doesn’t have to be this way, and not all celebrity athletes place their brand and products over conscience. The cerebral NBA legend Kareem Abdul Jabbar had this to say a few years ago about billionaire athlete Michael Jordan, “You can’t be afraid of losing shoe sales if you’re worried about your civil and human rights. He chose commerce over conscience. It’s unfortunate for him, but he’s gotta live with it.” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar recently sold memorabilia from his Hall of Fame career for $3 million. In an ESPN article, Kareem wrote the following statement: “When it comes to choosing between storing a championship ring or trophy in a room or providing kids with an opportunity to change their lives, the choice is pretty simple: Sell it all…Looking back on what I have done with my life, instead of gazing at the sparkle of jewels or gold plating celebrating something I did a long time ago, I’d rather look into the delighted face of a child holding their first caterpillar and think about what I might be doing for their future. That’s a history that has no price.”  Kareem’s net worth is estimated to be about $20 million. Incidentally, Kareem Abdul Jabbar is one of my favorite athletes, and I am a Celtics fan! It is a shame that so many younger players don’t seem to look up to him (no pun intended), or others like him for guidance and support. 🙂
Papa John’s claims that they have donated $3 million to their community foundation since the Shaq-A-Roni debut, which may sound impressive, until you account for the premature deaths, medical bills, animal suffering, and the untold damage to the planet that is caused by fast food restaurants like Papa John’s, and then realize too that their annual revenue exceeds $1.8 billion. Yikes.
Lastly, the “Papa John’s Foundation for Building Community” is another term that reminds me of the power of words. 
What if we called it instead, “The Papa John’s Foundation for Playing People, and Secretly Destroying the Community”?
Nah, that wouldn’t sell as many pizzas. 🙂
Until next time…
Please check out the links below to learn more about the enormous health risks associated with the cheese, “meats”, and sodas that Papa John’s sells (GMOs, refined flours, added sugars, oils, and artificial ingredients are other health concerns as well).
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments