Pizza served with Mexican slang causes stir in U.S. border states

Sat Mar 22, 2014 10:57pm EDT
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By Lisa Maria Garza

DALLAS (Reuters) - Even before the first pie is delivered, a jalapeño-heavy pizza with a Mexican slang name has produced chuckles among Spanish speakers in U.S. border states and an advertising ban by broadcasters who say the moniker could get them fined.

The new dish called "La Chingona," which can be translated most politely as "badass" but also interpreted as a more offensive profanity, has upset some franchise owners of the Pizza Patrón chain who refuse to put it on their menus.

"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 Andrew Gamm, brand director at Pizza Patrón, based in Texas and located in states with large Hispanic populations including California, Arizona and Florida.

The stakes are high and growing for the Latino market in places like Texas, which has a $1.4 trillion economy and where Hispanics account for nearly 40 percent of the population.

To stand out, Pizza Patrón has had other controversial campaigns, including one where it allowed customers in the United States to pay in Mexican pesos.

The "Chingona" pizza, which goes on sale on March 31, has 90 slices of jalapeño-infused pepperoni topped with diced jalapeño peppers.

National and local Spanish-language radio stations have refused to air the commercials, citing concerns about bad taste and potential fines by the Federal Communications Commission.

Univision Radio, the largest U.S. Hispanic radio network, said it will not run the ads because the name of the pizza is considered a profanity and violates FCC regulations.   Continued...

A jalapeno-topped pizza called "La Chingona" is seen in an undated handout photo courtesy of Pizza Patron. REUTERS/Courtesy of Pizza Patron/Handout via Reuters