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At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Papa John’s International witnessed something amazing. The team members at their corporate and franchise restaurants worked together to support and thank essential workers in their local communities by delivering thousands of pizzas to hospitals, food banks, homeless shelters, Boys & Girls Clubs of America and other organizations.

Papa John’s leaders wanted to promote these acts of kindness to foster morale for its own essential workers, showcase how the company lives out its values, highlight the amazing people employed there and ultimately just share a bit of good news during difficult times.

Communication overload

With the Papa John’s internal communications team already busy with COVID-19 crisis communications, as well as their regular communications workload, they knew that they would need help showing all the good work that was being done in communities across the country. The team simply did not have the bandwidth to coordinate the mountains of content coming in from stores or synthesize those submissions into a cohesive and impactful campaign.

Helping tell the story

This is where Small Potatoes Communications came in! We began working with Papa John’s team to develop the Delivering Thanks campaign designed to highlight these acts of kindness and generosity in an engaging and personal way. Small Potatoes is a multi-disciplinary agency, so we were able to help not only with writing the stories but also designing logos, graphics and videos to accompany the campaign. The Delivering Thanks campaign was shared internally and on the restaurant chain’s social media channels.

Papa Johns delivering thanks banner


Small Potatoes started by developing a clear process that was designed to alleviate our client’s workload while still allowing us to gather the information needed to write compelling and heartfelt stories. After receiving a lead from internal communications, the Small Potatoes team worked to build upon the information shared. Some leads consisted only of one photograph from a hospital’s Facebook or Instagram. Some were a little more robust, with multiple photos and a contact name. No matter what came to us, we took the information given and developed the story. 

We help you make the most of what you have

While we often had just a little information to work from, our talented and resourceful writers channeled Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys and [insert your favorite sleuth here!] to learn more about these events by searching social media and local media coverage. This allowed us to add more flavor to the stories and highlight the community impact Papa John’s was making with these good deeds.

Keeping it “fresh”

The challenge of a campaign like this is making stories that are all similar to one another fresh – keeping them personal, relatable and interesting. Small Potatoes took the time to consider each story individually and highlighted what made that delivery special. Some stories were better as videos. Some stories had a great human-interest angle. Some stories needed more photos or better graphics to make them stand out. We worked hard to make each story interesting and impactful and easily digestible.

We also covered stories over a variety of areas – from individual restaurants delivering hot meals to essential workers to how supply chain facilities were showing appreciation for their employees working to keep up with the demand for supplies. We were able to work across the organization, understanding the unique audiences and culture of those different departments to deliver interesting and relevant stories.

Papa Johns pizza box graphic with the text "We love our delivery drivers!"

key takeaway

Small Potatoes provided over 40 stories across four months to support their 100-story internal and external "Delivering Thanks" campaign.


Small Potatoes supplemented the international restaurant chain’s internal communications team to allow it to capitalize on these good news stories. With our help, the restaurant chain had a steady supply of social media and internal communications content throughout 2020.

The campaign helped employees feel pride in Papa John’s by promoting the work of its local corporate and franchise restaurants and internal departments. It also highlighted the company’s values and how they are committed to living out those values in every community they serve.

One of our big strengths as a communications team is that we can take what information we are given and deliver a big campaign that is impactful and exactly what our clients need. With our help, Papa John’s was able to share stories that might otherwise have gone untold.

And we were thankful for this opportunity!

ready to transform your communications?

The team at Small Potatoes has been privileged to transform communications, impact culture and show the very best of our clients to their hundreds of thousands of employees all across the world.

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