Pizza Patron, a Dallas-based discount-pizza chain, is offering customers a free large $4.99 pizza, if they place their order in Spanish, between 5 and 8 p.m. on June 5.
The offer has drawn reactions ranging from admiration to condemnation.
James Ward, professor of marketing at Arizona State University's W. P. Carey School of Business, said "It's really a message of, 'We're authentic, we understand you, we embrace you.'"
However, Peter Thomas, chairman of the Conservative Caucus, which advocates English as the nation's spoken language, said: "It seems to punish people who can't speak Spanish, and I resent that. In public areas, people should be speaking English, and that includes pizza parlors."
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Andrew Gamm, brand director at Pizza Patron, defended the marketing approach: "It makes perfect sense for us. We're trying to make our bond with the Hispanic community stronger."
This isn't the first time that Pizza Patron has caused controversy.
In January 2007, Pizza Patron launched its "Pizza por Pesos" campaign, advertising that any of its franchise locations would accept Mexican pesos as a method of payment.
Another campaign, in February of this year, focused on Catholics and other consumers who observe the 40-day period of Lent.
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