Be My Friend and I'll Give You a Pizza

I don't have the resources to give away things to have people become my friends on Facebook. Papa John's Pizza, on the other hand, will gladly give you a free pizza if you become its friend on the popular social networking site. Facebook users who become a Friend of Papa John's will receive a coupon good for a free medium cheese purchase with the purchase of a medium pizza. You have to act fast, though. The offer expires December 1.

What's the motive? Perhaps it is competition as Pizza Hut has unveiled a Facebook application that enables users to order from Pizza Hut online without ever leaving Facebook. Online sales are a rapidly growing channel for both Pizza Hut and Papa John's. The Papa John's offer focuses on the online channel as the coupon is good only for online ordering. Or, maybe Papa John's is doing what Cnet blogger Justin Yu claims: "bulking up skinny nerds."

In either case, marketing on social networks is another example of exploring ways to reach customers where they are. This outreach has to be balanced against coming across as being intrusive. Or, in the case of Papa John's, some people might be insulted to think that Papa John's is trying to buy its friendship with a medium pizza. I'm not insulted; I for one will enjoy my free cheese pizza!

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