US Presidential Election 2012

Pizza Hut rethinks presidential debate stunt

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 October, 2012, 4:55am

A pizza chain has been forced to tweak a "free pizza for life" contest after coming under fire for daring the crowd at the second presidential debate to ask Barack Obama and Mitt Romney to reveal their favourite pizza topping.

Pizza Hut hoped for free publicity when it promised one large pizza a week for 30 years to anyone who asked the presidential rivals during the debate this morning, Hong Kong time, whether they prefer sausage or pepperoni on their pizza.

But, following criticism that it was interfering in the democratic process, the firm opened the contest to all users of its mock Pizza Party website, which will randomly chose one voter and reward them with a lifetime of pizza.

"The anticipation and buzz around this question proves that this debate should be taken to the people," said chief marketing officer Kurt Kane.

"We're no longer asking a few hundred attendees at the presidential debate to pose the question. Rather, we're bringing the question - sausage or pepperoni? - to millions of Americans."

Free pizza is among several promotional stunts planned in the run-up to the elections.

Others include free JetBlue flights out of the United States for voters whose preferred candidate loses the election and an eBay auction of Obama and Romney effigies organised by the makers of Cabbage Patch dolls.