Chicago Town Pizza

By Bill Arnett

When I was in college, I had a get-rich-quick dream about going to live in Japan. I would sell my services as a real American and native English speaker to grammar, spell and usage check the tidal wave of video games coming in from overseas rife with errors. Here are some examples, the most famous being this line from the game Zero Wing: “All your base are belong to us." What’s the context? Does it matter? I’d also work as an actor playing the stereotypical American in movies. Tall, slow and easily angered? Can do. Always shown up by the more nimble and level headed Asian heroes? Where do I sign?

I never got to live that dream. But it appears my services are needed again. This time in the U.K. They don’t need my help with the language they invented, actually, but with pizza. This is an ad for a frozen pizza called Chicago Town Pizza. As a 20-year resident of Chicago and a consumer of pizza, I’ve got five ways to fix your product and ad campaign. This one is a freebie! If you find my services useful know that I have a passport.

chi town small.jpg

1. The name. While there is a clear association between the city of Chicago and pizza, the name should be Chi-Town Pizza, Chi-Town being a widely recognized nickname for the city. My guess is the phrase Chi-Town confused the British test audience so you went with Chicago Town. Let’s split the difference, how about: Chi-Town, Chicago-Style Pizza.

2. You probably know that the pizza you’re selling isn’t Chicago-style pizza but a generic thin-ish crust frozen pizza. Chicago style is cooked in a pan, making it thick with toppings that extend to the edges. Why even use Chicago if you don’t want to do Chicago-style pizza? Did it test better as an American city name than New York? Why even use a U.S. city name at all?

3. The video is clearly shot in California. Specifically the drainage canal named the Los Angeles River. It’s a familiar location for most Americans because it is used for many TV shows and movies, Terminator 2: Judgment Day chief among them. While you picked the one spot in LA without an anachronistic palm tree in the background you aren't fooling anyone. Back to point 2, why not LA Pizza?

3a. The license plate on the VW, while not displaying a state name, uses a California plate color scheme and layout. The Chicago flag is an easy thing to near-duplicate without getting into trouble.

4. The sky line on the box is needlessly generic. A quick Google search for "Chicago skyline" reveals two easily and legally steal-able features. One is the “X” pattern of girders on the side of the Hancock Building, the other being the double antennas on both the Hancock and Willis Tower. Take the art you have, give one building some x’s and another double antennas. Boom, you’ve got Chicago.

I hope you find these notes helpful.

For my American readers, I know what you’re asking. How does it taste? Don’t take my word for it: Try this review from 13Tenantry  or this head-to-head taste test, complements of Charlie Fleming, pitting Chicago Town against their chief competitor, Iceland Pizza Yes. Iceland frozen pizza. Honestly, if you want a city name more legit than Iceland Pizza all you have to do blindfold yourself and throw a dart at a map.

As I looked deeper into this, I was surprised to learn that the doughy-crust pizza in the TV ad is not the only style made by Chicago Town. They offer a "legit" Chicago-esque Deep Dish. I stand corrected. In case you're curious, they also have Chicken Club, Stuffed Crust Pepperoni Plus, New Yorker, Pizza Kitchen Roasted Chicken, Sloppy Joe, Pulled Beef Brisket, Cajun Chicken, American Hot, BBQ Sizzler, Buffalo Chicken, and Salted Caramel Dessert. I wish. I was. Joking. You guys clearly know what you're doing. So I apologize, I guess.