Pizza Hut's Absurd Debate PR Stunt

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Oct. 9 2012 1:12 PM

Dear Pizza Hut, You're Not Helping...

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A customer walks in to a Pizza Hut restaurant during lunchtime on April 19, 2012 in Los Angeles, California

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images.

The effectiveness of austerity measures. Medicare reform. The legality of drone strikes. All important subjects that will hopefully be addressed at next week’s second presidential debate. Next on the list? Pizza, apparently.

During the town-hall style debate on Oct. 16 at Hofstra University, select audience members will be able to ask the two candidates questions. Pizza Hut, well aware of the country’s fondness for fast food and the American electorate’s gnat-like attention span, has apparently decided to turn the whole thing into a marketing ploy.

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They are offering a lifetime of free pizza to anyone willing to ask the two candidates what their preferred pizza topping is, pepperoni or sausage. Really.

To assure America that the real issues being debated in households across the country every night aren't sidestepped by the candidates any longer, The Pizza Party is offering free pizza for life to an official attendee who asks either of the participants the age-old burning question—Sausage or Pepperoni?—during the live telecast town hall format presidential debate on Oct. 16 at Hofstra University.
"We recognize there are a lot of serious issues to be debated, but we also know a lot less serious—but no less important—ones are being discussed every night inside houses across the country," said Kurt Kane, CMO, Pizza Hut. "So for the candidates to be able to show that they're in tune with all the issues, we felt a pizza-related question on behalf of The Pizza Party was very appropriate for a town hall debate."

We apparently have a different definition of "appropriate" than Pizza Hut does. Between this, and Big Bird-gate, we’re officially a boxers-or-briefs question and a rose ceremony away from this race devolving into some sort of bizarre episode of The Bachelor.

A.J. McCarthy is a Slate video blogger.