- Papa John’s is debuting a new Papa Rewards program allowing members to rack up points five times faster than in the past, according to a press release. The points earned turn into "Papa Dough," which can be redeemed for menu items.
- Under the new program, members receive one point for every $1 spent, with no limits. Previously, one point was earned for every $5. Seventy-five points equals $10 Papa Dough. Current Papa Rewards members accounts have been transferred to the new program and existing points were multiplied by five. Members will also receive free Cheesesticks with a $12 purchase through Jan. 27.
- Papa John's is also giving Papa Rewards members the chance to win a one-of-a-kind gold pepperoncini worth $10,000. To enter, rewards members need to make a $5 minimum purchase between Dec. 17 and Jan. 6.
By promoting its new rewards program as the "gold standard of pizza rewards currency" and "crusto-currency," Papa John's is the latest brand to riff on the bitcoin and crytocurrency craze. The announcement comes as the value of crytocurrency remains in a slump, but fans of the pizza chain could welcome the change that helps them earn points faster. Papa John's is also striving to attract new rewards members and drive social media engagement with its gold pepperoncini giveaway.
Other restaurant chains have jumped on the crypto craze and incorporated bitcoin-related themes into their marketing, in an attempt to drum up brand interest. While consumers are interested in the technology, there's still some uncertainty in the public about how the technology actually works, and brands have played off that. KFC Canada in January unveiled the Bitcoin Bucket, a limited-run offer which could be purchased for $20 worth of the crytocurrency. Last year, Burger King Russia launched "WhopperCoin," a reward program that let customers collect and save tokens to buy burgers, as well as transfer or trade them online. Similarly, Oscar Mayer in May announced a cryptocurrency called Bacoin that was backed by the "gold standard" of the Kraft Heinz brand's bacon.
The new rewards program caps off a rough year for the pizza chain, following the ouster of the company's founder after he made racist comments during a conference call earlier this year. Papa John's said it will increase its marketing budget by about $10 million as it attempts to rework its brand image. The company also selected Endeavor as its new agency of record, with Bozoma Saint John, who previously helped Uber work through a series of controversies, leading the charge. The chain has seen positive results from its "Voices of Papa John’s" campaign, which launched in September and featured real employees and franchise owners.