The Texas-based franchise Pizza Patrón recently created a new type of Mexican pizza that bears a quite unusual and controversial name. The pizza is called “La Chingona,” which translated to English means something like “The Badass.” The reason for this tough-sounding name is due to the fact that the pizza contains a combination of pepperoni infused with jalapeño peppers and extra spicy plain jalapeños on top. The Mexican pizza’s name has been removed and even censored on menus.
The pizza is set to go on sale March 31 in the states of Texas, California, Arizona, and Florida, all states with large Hispanic populations. While the name makes some people laugh, some franchise owners have refused to sell the pizza, citing the fact that the pizza’s name can also have more profane connotations in Spanish. Television stations such as Univisión and radio shows like NPR have also refused to take part in the marketing of this new pizza due to its name.
Andrew Gamm, brand director of Pizza Patrón, argues that the name of the pizza was not intended to be offensive because Mexicans tend to use it in a “common way.” The term is especially popular with younger Mexicans. However, other uses of the word can be profane and this has offended several would-be advertisers of the pizza who do not see the word as being the “compliment” that Gamm claims it is.
Pizza Patrón’s radio ads feature several famous Latinos telling listeners just what makes them “chingón” enough to eat the spicy pizza. Nonetheless, the company did censor the name of the pizza in some of its advertisements, replacing two of its letters with an exclamation mark and a hashtag. The franchise plans to go ahead with the launch of the radio ads as planned.
Gustavo Arellano, the writer for the satirical column “Ask a Mexican!” featured regularly in the Orange County Weekly, called the media refusal to advertise the pizza “pathetic,” but noting at the same time that the company is receiving advertisment anyway for the pizzas through the negative media exposure. Plus, “La Chingona” is a very Mexican term, which goes well with the Mexican pizzas the restaurant sells.
Pizza Patron´s website indicates that the censored pizza is not the first innovative endeavor of the Pizza Patrón company. In 2007 it began allowing customers to pay for pizzas using Mexican pesos and in 2012, anyone who ordered pizzas in Spanish was awarded a free pizza courtesy of the restaurant. The Pizza Patrón franchise opened in 1986 and claims to be “the leading Mexican pizza brand in the U.S. and remains dedicated to bringing its unique experience to life with every pizza made, and in every community it serves.” The restaurant’s facebook page contains boasts over 8,400 “likes” and contains a good deal of its controversial advertising as well as news articles that both support and denounce the selling of the special Mexican pizza.
By Amber Workman