Pizza Patron is a Dallas-based chain using a new promotion that uses a popular Mexican slang word that to some means “super cool,” while others find it super-offensive. The chain is getting set to launch a limited time offer, later this month, for an extra-spicy pizza with jalapenos. They are calling it “La Chingona.”
In the radio ad, a customer walks in and asks for the “pizza chingona” and is told it’s only for chingones. The customer subsequently makes a case for his chingon-ness: he can clap with one hand, make music with the rattles of rattle snakes, and live with his mother-in-law for a whole month, reports North County Public Radio.
In the article, Sarah Portnoy, who teaches courses on Hispanic culinary culture, said: “It’s not a word I’d use in front of my mother-in-law. It’s a word that my 20-something nieces and nephews use among themselves…Some of us were outraged there would be such a campaign going on.”
Apparently, the verb that chingon, chingona and chingones all derive from is equivalent to the F-word.
But a younger colleague, Natalia Perez, said the way Pizza Patrón is using it isn’t vulgar at all. “I’m from Mexico and in the ’90s we always used that word to mean cool… I don’t know, I just don’t feel that it’s that horrible.”
Edgar Padilla, the corporate marketing manager for the Pizza Patrón chain told North County Public Radio the campaign is aimed at its core customers: blue-collar, Mexican immigrants who make less than $50,000 a year and prefer to speak Spanish. “We use it a lot in Mexico. ‘It’s amazing! Somebody’s cool, somebody’s great!…We’re trying to speak Mexican Spanish, we’re trying to speak to the hearts of our people.”
Pizza Patrón was set to run radio ads at the end of this month promoting their new pizza. Padilla says CBS and Univision radio said “no thanks” and were unwilling to air the spots even with the word bleeped out. He believes the stations were afraid of running afoul of FCC regulations regarding the use of profanity over the airwaves.
RBR-TVBR observation: Totally understandable move from CBS Radio and Univision radio. It’s just too risky that a listener or two would complain about the ad, citing that some interpret it as using the F-Word in Spanish. It could indeed cause fines and threaten their license renewal. It’s too bad stations can’t get written approval upfront from the FCC on questionable ads like this!