Quid pizza quo? Nope, says newspaper boss

papaA Romenesko reader writes: “A coupon was placed in [Chattanooga Times Free Press] employees’ last paychecks, good for a one-topping Papa John’s pizza. What a coincidence. A few days later, Papa Johns is the centerpiece on page 1 on the eve of the Super Bowl.”


About a week later, Papa John’s was featured in a pre-Super Bowl story.


I asked Times Free Press president Jason Taylor about his memo and the Papa John’s story. He responded: “Papa Johns is a great partner of ours but I can promise you advertising had no influence on that coverage. These two departments constantly battle. I can guarantee you there is no influence between the two. Our employee relations committee decided to give monthly gifts to our employees for fun. They chose advertisers to purchase the gifts. I wish they would have given us a discount. :-)”