Pizza Patrón is once again challenging the notion of whether or not there is no such thing as bad publicity. National Public Radio has reportedly cancelled its planned segment about Pizza Patrón's upcoming LTO pizza La Ch!#gona. The broadcast was tentatively scheduled to air this week, but was pulled for fear of violating FCC regulations according to NPR's "Code Switch" blog article titled "Pizza Chain That Markets To Mexicans Says New Promotion Isn't Profane."
NPR serves as a national syndicator to a network of 900 public radio stations in the U.S.
According to a company press release, this isn't the first time an organization balked at running the chain's new campaign. Telemundo 39 KXTX, the local affiliate in Dallas/Fort Worth, ran a story called Controversia por el nombre de una pizza on its March 12 evening news, opting to bleep the name in the audio, but showing the point-of-purchase print materials on screen.
"Our new La Ch!#gona pizza seems to be causing a lot of challenges for news media outlets," Brand Director Andrew Gamm said in the release. "There is a great deal of misunderstanding surrounding the word "Chingón" and how it is commonly used in today's culture, particularly among younger Mexicans. Although the term sounds similar to a common Mexican profanity, it is not intended to offend. On the contrary, it is a compliment of the highest order."
As the controversy surrounding the name spreads, company officials say they are weighing their options regarding the new product campaign that is scheduled to launch on March 31.
"As is always the case with our decision-making, this product's name was not designed to create controversy, it was designed to speak to the hearts of our core Mexican customers using the conversational vernacular commonly heard every day among friends and family. The name La Ch!#gona is a perfect fit for such a spicy and delicious pizza that challenges our customers' tolerance for heat," said Gamm.