Texas-based pizza chain Pizza Patrón is stirring up controversy again with their new La Ch!#gona pizza (the ! and # added by the chain). The pizza, which is topped with jalapeno-infused pepperoni and chopped jalapenos, is named for the Mexican-slang term "La Chingona," which is/is not offensive, depending on who you ask. According to the Dallas Morning News, as many as 10% to 15% of their locations are refusing to sell the pizza, and Spanish-language radio stations are bleeping out the word in ads.
A statement on Pizza Patrón's website (and embedded below) claims they are being "censored for speaking 'Mexican,'" writing, "We are being selectively censored to protect the Mexican listeners from so-called potentially 'offensive' language. These same networks regularly feature songs and talk-show dialogue that is much more risqué than anything we are doing." The statement does not address franchisees who refuse to sell the pizza, which will become available March 31.
In any case, it is worth noting that Pizza Patrón is no stranger to staging "controversial" stunts to drum up publicity. In 2007, they came under fire for announcing they would soon accept pesos, and in 2012, they gave away thousands of free pizzas just for people who would order it in Spanish.
Pizza Patrón Censored for Speaking 'Mexican'
New ads too 'chingón' for many Spanish radio networks
Pizza Patrón, the Dallas-based pizza chain, was informed that the company's new advertising campaign would not be permitted to air on a number of major radio networks. The decision came just weeks ahead of the radio spots planned premiere on Monday, March 31st.
The Spanish language ads feature different personalities who expound why they are 'chingón' enough to try the company's spicy new LTO pizza named La Ch!#gona. Richards/Lerma, the Dallas-based Hispanic branding and creative agency, was hired by Pizza Patrón and charged with the task of creating spots that speak 'Mexican' to the brand's core, Mexican-born customer base.
Aldo Quevedo, principal and creative director for Richards/Lerma defended the strategy behind the ads saying, "Mexican slang and humor are very particular, and we applaud Pizza Patrón for connecting with their core consumers at a very deep level, avoiding stereotypes. The brand speaks the same way they do, I mean, WE do!"
"The decision to ban the spots over the name La Ch!#gona doesn't make much sense to us," stated Andrew Gamm, brand director for Pizza Patrón. "We are being selectively censored to protect the Mexican listeners from so-called potentially 'offensive' language. These same networks regularly feature songs and talk-show dialogue that is much more risqué than anything we are doing."
According to Real Academia Española, the official royal institution responsible for overseeing the Spanish language, the definition of the word 'chingón' is defined as follows: chingón, na. 1. adj. street slang. Méx. "Said of a person who is competent in an activity or knowledgeable in a specific area."
Edgar Padilla, marketing manager for Pizza Patrón and the creative mind behind the La Ch!#gona campaign said "colloquialism," "picardía" (street-wise humor) and "censorship" are common traits in Mexican culture. "These same characteristics are essential to the foundation of our campaign whose objective is to speak directly to our customer's heart. We understand and know who we are targeting and make no excuses - Pizza Patrón is a brand for La Raza (the people)."
The product, La Ch!#gona, is a large pizza with approximately 90 slices of proprietary jalapeño stuffed pepperonis topped with fresh, diced jalapeños. Available for a limited time only, the pizza has a recommended price of $7.99. Prices and availability may vary by market.
· Dallas' Pizza Patron uses Mexican slang deemed offensive or funny [DMN]
· Pizza Patron's Chingona Statement [Pizza Patron]
· All Pizza Patron Coverage on Eater [-E-]