Bilingualism has many rewards including enhanced cognitive skills, lower occurrence of dementia in old age, higher paying job opportunities, double the pool of friend and relationship possibilities, and now, free pizza.
A Texas-based pizza chain is getting some backlash over their latest promotion. On June 5th from 5 to 8 pm, Pizza Patrón customers who order in Spanish will receive a free large pepperoni pizza, but this has some monolingual English-speakers feeling a little cheesed off. (I couldn’t resist the pun. ¡Perdóname!)
“This is America and in America we speak American when we order Italian food!” said one angry customer, (Okay, I made up that quote, although it’s not much of an exaggeration from real quotes I’ve read.)
Pizza Patrón unfortunately can’t claim to be surprised by the reaction they’ve gotten since they generated a similar response in 2007 when they announced that they would accept pesos as payment.
Regardless of how ridiculous people are being about the promotion, they can’t accuse Pizza Patrón brand director Andrew Gamm, of not playing fair – Hungry gringos wanting their share of the pie will not be left out. “If you don’t speak Spanish, come on in. We’ll give you the phrase and make sure everyone that shows up walks away with a pizza.” (By the way, the very difficult phrase customers must learn how to say is “Pizza, por favor.” …Seriously people, if you can’t say that, you have bigger problems than not being able to get a free pizza.)
Did you notice how “pizza” is spelled in the advertisement above? That is genius marketing at work. Here’s an excerpt from a Pizza Patrón press release explaining:
“Collateral materials for the promotion feature the word PIZZA spelled with a “C” resulting in text that reads PICZA POR FAVOR™ (pronounced “PEEK-ZA”). Company officials say many of Pizza Patrón’s corporate staff members pronounce words like PIZZA as PICZA or PEPSI as PECSI.
“Nearly half of our corporate staff says PICZA (“PEEK-ZA”) instead of PIZZA,” says Gamm. “And when we dug a little deeper, we soon realized that a good number of our Hispanic customers also say PICZA (“PEEK-ZA”) too. We thought it would be fun to incorporate that cultural component into the campaign.”
I have to say, at our house it’s pronounced “PEEP-SA”, but “PICZA” is close enough that I smiled, recognizing right away what they were up to.
How do you pronounce “pizza” at your house?
Bonus: Check out this hilarious take on the Pizza Patrón news story over at Pocho.com – Speaking Spanish gets you a free pizza – and Pocho Ocho other things