Hot debate question: Sausage or Pepperoni?

During the next US presidential debate, the candidates will be pondering the important questions. But the most controversial may be ‘Sausage or pepperoni?’

Pizza Hut is offering a lifetime of free pizza — one large pie a week for 30 years — or a check for $15,600 (Rs 8.3 lakh) to anyone who poses the question to either US President Barack Obama or Republican candidate Mitt Romney during the live Town Hall-style debate next Tuesday.

Cheesy debate stunt: Pizza Hut said there is room for both serious and lighthearted questions in the US presidential debate and said that it would offer a lifetime of pizza to whoever who would ask the question. Pic/AFP

The proposed stunt, which the pizza chain announced on Tuesday, threatens to tick off millions of viewers who are expected to tune into the debate to hear what the candidates have to say about the economy, health care and other serious concerns facing this country.

“It’s a terrible waste of time for the presidential candidates, the people who organise the debate and everyone who wants to listen,” said Mickey Sheridan, a 43-year-old bartender from New York, who is a Pizza Hut fan. “They should find some other way to advertise.”


Pizza Hut’s move comes as marketers continue to look for new ways to engage TV audiences that increasingly are resistant to their traditional commercials.

Pizza Hut said there is room for both serious and lighthearted questions in the debate, which will be broadcast on most network and cable news stations.

“We know there are a lot of serious topics that are going to be debated and need to be debated,” Pizza Hut spokesman Doug Terfehr said.

But Terfehr said the pizza chain, which operates 10,000 restaurants in 90 countries, saw this as a way to ask an ‘everyday question’ that people can relate to. “Pizza seems to be a question everyone understands”.

Burning questions
It’s not the first time a question that could be seen as frivolous has been asked of a president or candidate during a live, televised events. One of the most famous moments in TV history came during a 1994 MTV Town Hall when an audience member asked then-President Bill Clinton whether he wore ‘Boxers or briefs?’ Clinton’s sheepish response, “Usually briefs,” became an indelible moment in pop culture.

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