Grate Expectations: Serving Up Cheddar Pizza Across the Globe

May 30, 2023
May 30, 2023

What do Garfield and the K-Pop group IVE have in common?

They’ve both got to have the Cheddar Pizza, the newest limited-time offer (LTO) from Papa Johns.

We talked to Andrew Lanzianno, our International Brand Marketing Director, about what went into the launch of this cheddary delight and how it’s being delivered across several international markets.

Andrew Lanzianno

Why Cheddar?

First thing’s first. It’s cheddar. On pizza. It’s a melty mashup of one of the world’s favorite cheeses and one of the world’s favorite meals. You think mozzarella gets to have all the fun? This is a pizza paradigm shift. And it’s one that took careful planning to make happen.

Andrew and his team leaned into consumer insights and research throughout the process. They saw the popularity of cheddar and dug into what consumers in different countries had to say–as well as their purchase intent and consideration. Cheddar Pizza ended up being one of the highest-rated products across the core countries of Chile, China, Korea, Spain and the UAE.

Andrew emphasized how having a uniquely delicious product sets the foundation for a strong marketing campaign. He sampled the pizza himself and knew they had a winner. “I'm actually a huge fan of cheddar cheese in general and the pizza turned out amazing,” he said. No matter how you try it with the cheddar as that hero ingredient, it’s phenomenal.”

Why Now?

The launch of Cheddar Pizza easily complemented another new Papa Johns initiative, the Better Get You Some brand platform. The team was able to seamlessly connect the pizza passion and fun, celebratory energy of the new platform to the Cheddar Pizza. Likewise, the new platform benefitted from a craveable, buzz-worthy new pizza to help introduce the concept of “Better Get You Some” in these international markets.

Cheddar Pizza


The last piece of the puzzle was ensuring that any marketing would feel authentic and engaging in each of the specific regions of the launch. 

“We have a great product, and a great platform of ‘Better Get You Some.’ The third piece is collaborating with teams in the launch countries to localize 360-degree marketing campaigns across paid, owned and earned media.”

Rolling Out Like a Local Across Regions

Bringing the Cheddar Pizza to life in different countries and cultures was empowered by collaboration with regional teams. They provided powerful insight into what would resonate with local audiences–and what kind of partners would give the campaigns a boost.

In China, the cheddar pizza launched with a takeover by Garfield, the lasagna-loving orange cartoon cat. His offbeat energy and enthusiasm for baked, cheesy goodness made Garfield a natural fit with the “Better Get You Some” platform. And his orange color matched up perfectly with the cheddar pizza.

Cheddar Pizza marketing


In Korea, the campaign is promoted by the K-Pop group IVE, one of the largest partnerships at Papa Johns. The group is featured in restaurant displays and across ad placements, including custom YouTube content where an IVE member is doing a fun review of the Cheddar Pizza on an influential YouTube channel.


Cheddar Pizza marketing

Serving Up Results

With initial results from the launch in China, the Cheddar Pizza has become the best-performing LTO launch ever. As the Cheddar Pizza is enjoyed in our international markets, the team will continue to track results and find fresh ways to spark ooey, gooey cheesy growth around the world.

It’s all been possible because of the coordinated efforts of a global team, innovating to win and having fun while doing it. Andrew expressed his gratitude for the collaboration, “Thanks to the talented and passionate regional teams and franchisee partners for bringing this amazing pizza to life. We're Better with Cheddar.”