What’s in a name? you might be asking, if you were conveniently setting me up to answer that question with the following post. A whole lot, especially if you name your pizza something that translates to something very naughty in another language.
The pizza topped with 90 jalapeño-infused pepperonis at Texas-based restaurant chain has some customers all fired up, and not because of the searing, peppery blaze in their mouths.
The pie is called “La Chingona,” reports Reuters, a word that translates sort of like “badass” if you’re being polite, and into something more offensive and profane that could be seen as an insult against one’s mother if you’re not trying to display nice manners.
Broadcasters haven’t been airing ads for the pizza, saying the profanity could get them banned, and some franchise owners of the chain won’t put it on their menus. But the company is defending the name, saying it’s just relating to its customers.
“It’s a colloquial Mexican term that’s used very commonly among our core customers, which is a Mexican-born, Spanish-speaking customer, in part of their everyday lifestyle,” said the chain’s brand director. The chain has locations in states with large Hispanic populations like California, Arizona and Florida.
The chain also posted a statement regarding the pizza in both Spanish and English on its site, saying it stand behind the name:
“We have been here before. The unique cultural insight inherent in many of our campaigns continues to provoke a deluge of varying opinions. Our goal is simple – to connect with and serve our customers better.”
This isn’t the first time the company has tried to stand out with controversial campaigns — in the past it allowed U.S. customers to pay in Mexican pesos.
So is this really a big deal? Kind of sounds like it — Univision Radio, the largest U.S. Hispanic radio network, has refused to run ads because the name is a profanity and could violate FCC regulations. Other local and national radio stations have also put the kibosh on the naughty phrase. And about 20 of the chain’s 90 outlets have kept it off their menus.
As a result, some ads have censored the name to keep it out there, but perhaps less shocking for those with delicate sensibilities, displaying it as “La Ch!#gona” in print campaigns.
“We thought we’d do a little bit of self-censorship, tongue-in-cheek, and add the exclamation point and hashtag inside the word,” the brand director said. “But if you know the word, you can still read it very easily.”
Follow MBQ on Twitter if you’re a fan of mostly profanity-free tweets, when it comes to pizza at least: @marybethquirk