Can everybody quit freaking out over Pizza Hut’s incentive to get a member of the audience at tonight’s presidential debate to ask the candidates “sausage or pepperoni?” The pizza maker has pulled what was clearly a publicity stunt, although this would clearly have been a welcomed distraction to the snooze-fests and oh-so-predictable sparring matches that these debates have become. It’s just pizza, people. Relaaax.
In case you missed all the excitement or want a chance to freak out all over again, last week, Pizza Hut announced that it would give away free pizzas for life to anyone in tonight’s audience who asked President Obama or Mitt Romney about their favorite topping. Gasp! Shocking! Oh my God! The nerve!!!
A PR stunt? Definitely. But offensive? Come on. That’s a bit of an over-reaction. Does asking a presidential candidate about this really make a mockery of our entire political system, as Gawker suggested? Or worth saying, “Fuck you, @pizzahut” as @nffcnnr did on Twitter? Hardly.
Others have called it “absolutely disgusting” and some have vowed to boycott Pizza Hut for life now. Even Stephen Colbert criticized the pizza giant by saying on his show, “What could be more American than using our electoral process for product placement?”
Yes, the presidential debates are serious. And yes, this election is critical for the future of our country. No one is debating (pun) that. But can’t we just have a little humor to break up all the dry, expected and often-times (dare we say) lies that are spouted throughout the evening? What’s the harm, really, in asking “Sausage or pepperoni?” to assess the candidate’s personality and perhaps add a chuckle to the debate?
But alas, back to boring rhetoric we go.
In a statement, Pizza Hut wrote that its “Pizza Party” effort was “originally intended for the candidates” but “will now instead be open to the public and asked online.” In other words, they caved.
Pizza Hut’s chief marketing officer, Kurt Kane, explained in a statement:
The anticipation and buzz around this question proves that this debate should be taken to the people. We’re no longer asking a few hundred attendees at the town hall presidential debate on Oct. 16 to pose the question, rather we’re bringing the question – Sausage or Pepperoni? – to millions of Americans.
Although someone in tonight’s audience may still be brave enough to ask.
At least it’s better than “Boxers or briefs?”
Tell us what you think. Is this a big deal to you?