One problem nation brands have is when the interests of one locality conflict with those of another. For example, say you have stores in Cleveland, Ohio and Washington DC, and let’s say hypothetically that those teams are playing together in an NBA playoff…oh wait that did happen. Lots of companies will like to show their local customers that they support the local team and offer some sort of promotion for the occasion. It would be wise though for companies to realize that what happens in Washington DC does not stay in Washington DC, and when Papa John’s decided to create t-shirts with “Crybaby #23″ the people of Cleveland were not happy to say the least. As a fellow Clevelander, we have been without a championship for quite some time, so when our only promising star who may actually bring us a championship in something gets made fun of because one of the Wizards’ players punched him and he complained about it we’re going to be a bit angry. So to help appease us Papa John’s is going to offer 23 cent large 1 topping pizzas on Thursday.
So what can be learned from Papa John’s? I think it’s certainly ok to make negative promotions about another location if your business is local (I have several nasty anti-Detroit t-Shirts from a local car dealership from last year’s playoffs), but if you have a national brand keep it positive. If they would have made t-shirts that said “Go Wizards” nobody would have minded it.
Of course the devious side of me thinks that they may have planned this all along, because if they went with “Go Wizards” t-shirts nobody would be talking about them.