Papa John's must remove its "Better Ingredients,
Better Pizza" slogan from storefronts and pizza boxes after a jury
decided the pitch was false advertising.
The judge in the case also ordered Papa John's to pay $468,000
in damages to Pizza Hut, which filed the lawsuit claiming the
slogan and advertising campaign unfairly maligned its product. In
November, a jury ruled in Pizza Hut's favor.
In his ruling on Monday, Federal Magistrate William F. Sanderson
Jr. ordered Louisville-based Papa John's International Inc. to stop
using its slogan in ads by Jan. 24, to stop using pizza boxes and
other printed material with the phrase by March 3 and remove it
from restaurant signs by April 3.
He further forbade Papa John's from ever using the word
"better" to describe its pizza, and he barred the company from
even comparing its pizza to that of Pizza Hut in future ads.
"This is a landmark victory for consumers and Pizza Hut," said
Jonathan Blum, a vice president and spokesman for Dallas-based
Pizza Hut's parent company, Tricon Global Restaurants Inc. of
Papa John's will ask Sanderson to delay his order while it
appeals the jury verdict, a spokeswoman said.
"This isn't going to change anything we're about," said Papa
John's spokeswoman Karen Sherman. "People buy our pizza because of
the pizza, not the slogan."
Papa John's spent $300 million on promotions that used the
slogan since 1995. Ms. Sherman said the company does not know how
much it would cost to remove it.
During the trial, Papa John's officials and attorneys argued
that the "Better Ingredients, Better Pizza" slogan was merely
puffery harmless boasting that consumers expect in commercials.