In June this year, I received a fun, albeit slightly daunting, invitation from Edward Sylvia, owner of Pizza by Certe’. Chef Ed, as he is affectionately known, challenged me to participate in an event called the NYC Pizza Run.
In its second year, the NYC Pizza Run takes place in the heart of NYC’s Alphabet City and is for a great cause. Entry fees benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International based in New York. Participants run a 2.25 mile course, stopping along the way to scarf down pizza at three separate checkpoints.
I like running, but I’m not one of those gazelle-like creatures that can spring swiftly and effortlessly. But I can plod with the best of them, and 2.25 miles is well within my realm of capability. And I like pizza… a lot actually. I like doing something charitable every once in a while, too. So when Chef Ed proposed this challenge, I jumped right on board.
Now, I wouldn’t put running and pizza in the same category as chocolate and peanut butter, but I will say this – it does make for great PR. For green pizza operators, getting involved in unique events like the Pizza Run is a great way to gain exposure and drive home their eco-friendly message.
For Pizza by Certe’ that message is to buy green and source locally, and Chef Ed reinforced that message at the NYC Pizza Run every time he could. He did so both subtly by using the 100 percent recycled GreenBox pizza box and directly by highlighting the eco-friendliness of his parlor to the many TV and print journalists that were present. He also managed to give prominence to the Pizza by Certe’ logo by displaying it on the backs of the official NYC Pizza Run T-Shirts handed out and on the coupons and menus included with NYC Pizza Run swag. The result of Chef Ed’s efforts? A video on the NY times site and mentions from the NY Times, the NY Daily News, USA Today the Huffington Post and multiple other blogs.
The message to pizza operators: Look for interesting events to help share your green message. For the cost of a few pizzas and a bit of your time, you’ll end up with some powerful publicity that matches the marketing power of a much larger chain.
So how’d I do? Well, unfortunately on my third and final lap around the park, I somehow – perhaps, on some subconscious level, intentionally - took a wrong turn, which ultimately landed me in the home stretch far quicker than I ever should have been. Phew. There. I got that off my chest. A secret held by me and a cameraman who looked at me sideways as I raised my arms up in triumph at the finish line. Ah well. I finished – somewhere in the middle of the pack - that’s all that matters. And it’s too late to take back my T-Shirt.
Jennifer Wright is the CFO of Ecovention, LLC, a design, licensing and manufacturing firm dedicated to improving outmoded, outdated and wasteful food packaging. Ecoventions first product, the GreenBox, is a pizza box made from 100% recycled material that breaks into plates and a storage carton.