Pizza Patron planning three new Hispanic campaigns

Five years after igniting controversy with the launch of its Pizza por Pesos promotion, Pizza Patron announced that it is planning three new campaigns for 2012 designed to celebrate the brand's Latino roots.

Pizza por Pesos was introduced in the beginning of 2007, when Pizza Patron began accepting Mexican pesos at all of its U.S. locations. Although company executives received numerous death threats and hate mail over the program, the concept was a success. Within a month of the program, 31 percent of Pizza Patron's stores set weekly sales records.

Today, all 100 Pizza Patron units accept Mexican pesos (bills only) as a method of payment.

"In 2007, when we began accepting Mexican pesos at our restaurants, it admittedly generated a lot of negative feedback," said Andrew Gamm, brand director for Pizza Patron. "But, in the end, we received a preponderance of positive support from our customers, the American people and business advocates from around the world."

This year, Pizza Patron will roll out three new campaigns that will reinforce the brand's commitment to its Hispanic roots. The first campaign is slated for late April and will celebrate the language that unifies most Hispanics.

The second campaign, scheduled for a July 4 launch, will honor the history of American immigration. The final campaign in October will promote community action and will feature Mexican pesos, putting a Latin twist on the company's annual fundraising efforts for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

"Five years after Pizza por Pesos our brand focus remains laser sharp," said Gamm. "With these new campaigns, we want to send a message to our core customers that we are here for them, and we are here to stay."

Pizza Patron is headquartered in Dallas and celebrated the opening of its 100th restaurant in 2011. The chain has locations in seven states and 85 more under development.

In October, the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies (AHAA) released its 2010 Report on Hispanic Advertising Spending, which showed a 14 percent increase in budget allocation for these types of campaigns from 2009.

Pizza Patron has been aiming its major ad campaigns toward the Hispanic market since 2004.

"It is essential to actually build a bridge, provide specific messaging and penetrate this demographic in order to maintain continued success in the market," said Darren Tristano, EVP at research firm Technomic. "Chains that research Spanish-speaking consumers and hire marketing staff with a deep understanding of the market will have a leg up on their competitors."

Read more about marketing campaigns.

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