Dallas-based pizza chain Pizza Patron is giving away free pepperoni pizzas for a single evening to customers who order their pies in Spanish.
But the marketing ploy, which the company says is a way to reach out to and build their already largely Latino clientele, is sparking outrage.
Marcela Gomez, president of Hispanic Marketing Group, a Latino marketing firm in Nashville, told USA Today that "maybe they thought it was a cute thing to do, but I think it's discrimination." She added that she would not encourage any of her clients to use such a promotion.
In a press release announcing the promotion, which has been dubbed "Pizza Por Favor," the company said the pizza promo is an effort to promote the "positive force of change immigrants have made in communities throughout America."
The initiative is also a way for Pizza Patron to generate buzz for itself, Andrew Gamm, brand director for the company, said. In 2007, the company adopted another attention-grabbing marketing strategy that is still raising eyebrows: Pizza Patron started accepting Mexican pesos for payment.
For Gamm, the promotion serves as a great product-sampling effort. He expects to give away some 80,000 pies on the day of the promo throughout the 100 nationwide locations.
The free "Pizza Por Favor" event will take place on June 5 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.