Tuesday, October 16, 2012

USAT, Pizza Hut parent link on hunger contest

USA Today said this morning that it's joining the fast food parent company of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell in what appears to be a newspaper-in-education contest that will award up to $500,000 to U.S. hunger-relief charities.

I read the press release three times to understand USAT's role, which is coming through the paper's charitable foundation. (Yes: USAT has its own foundation, separate from the Gannett Foundation). The direct benefit to USAT -- increased circulation? a boost to advertising? -- isn't spelled out.

But the big philanthropy-as-public-relations winner is certainly David Novak, CEO of 38,000-restaurant giant Yum Brands in Louisville, Ky.

The contest is called the "Lead2Feed-World Hunger Leadership Challenge." In it, the USAT Charitable Foundation and Yum's foundation will encourage middle and high school students to develop leadership skills through projects on solving hunger, locally or globally, the news release says. More than 1,000 schools are expected to participate. Yum will provide the up to $500,000 in prize money.

Students in the contest will use principles from Novak's book, TAKING PEOPLE WITH YOU: The Only Way to Make BIG Things Happen and the USA Today Education program's Lead2Feed curriculum.

As it turns out, the Lead2Feed curriculum also is based on Novak's book. The 256-pager was published in January by a Penguin imprint. Although today's news release says it's a best seller, Amazon ranks it No. 4,846 on its overall sales list, and No. 76 in the leadership subject category.

Today's announcement came the same day that USAT reported Pizza Hut's latest PR stunt -- one involving the presidential race -- had blown up. (The timing was surely serendipitous, however.) The paper writes a lot of stories about fast food companies.

About Novak
Last year, Yum valued Novak's annual compensation at $20.4 million, including stock awards, a $4.5 million cash bonus and $214,000 for personal use of the company plane, according to regulatory documents. Novak, 59, also is board chairman.

But investors probably think he's worth it. Under his leadership over the past 12 years, Yum's stock has soared more than 600% vs. a 1% decline in the S&P 500, according to Google Finance.


  1. Bravo. Say what you want but feeding people is NEVER a bad thing

  2. Get back to me when USA Today finds some paying advertisers.

    Without them, there will be no USA Today tomorrow.

  3. Sounds like yet another USAT program that does NOTHING to help increase readership or revenue. This has Maryam written all over it.

  4. New provider coming to the Crystal Palace cafeteria? Yaay!

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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