Did Incredible Pizza photo shoot backfire?

Eric Olson, SBJ EditorA Springfield entertainment company’s attempt to better market itself may be backfiring.

America’s Incredible Pizza Co. is seeking models to pose in marketing photos for the company “to depict business professionals hosting team building, business meeting and other corporate events at our locations,” according to its Craig’s List post where interested models can respond.

However, one Springfield actor is laughing off the company’s talent search.

Allen Marsh, a self-described professional actor living in Springfield, might have been interested in the work, but then he read this line:

“Compensation will be in the way of free buffet passes and game cards.”

Marsh sent me an e-mail to express his displeasure with the treatment of local talent.

“This exemplifies perfectly my exasperation with corporate Springfield’s clueless attitude toward talent,” writes Marsh, who has been in films “Ragman,” “Apollo” and “Nine Grounds,” according to The Internet Movie Database.

Incredible Pizza says the shoot will take between two and five hours on a weekday yet to be determined.

“Seriously?” continues Marsh, who most recently appeared in Evangel University production “Parhadis.” “When the toilet in your restaurant overflows, does the plumber let you pay him with free rides on your toy train?”

Apparently, this isn’t Marsh’s first rub with corporate Springfield. He says the culture here toward acting/advertising talent is causing him to “reluctantly” relocate his family to Los Angeles.

“Casting calls like this are why no actor with an iota of talent or ambition can afford to stay in Springfield,” he writes, recognizing that local plays or independent films sometimes do not have profit structures in place.

He says that’s not so with Incredible Pizza, which would see a financial return on the advertising photos.

“You expect professional models and actors to take time out of their day – from 2-1/2 to 5 hours – to help your company project a professional image, and yet you refuse to offer any monetary compensation whatsoever? Is America’s Incredible Pizza Co. in financial straits, or do you simply not grasp the economics of advertising?”

Incredible Pizza spokesman Chris Brewer says Marsh is taking the Craig’s List posting out of context.

“We had previously been seeking volunteers for this and only tried Craig’s List to reach out to anyone who might be interested in a fun gig, who might have kids and would appreciate the gift card compensation,” Brewer told me via e-mail. “We do recognize talent and have paid for talent on bigger endeavors like our television shoot. However, this is a very low-budget, low-profile photo shoot.”

To answer Marsh’s question about financial stability, it appears Incredible Pizza is in good shape. The 1950s-themed family entertainment center was the fastest-growing company in Springfield Business Journal’s 2009 Dynamic Dozen with 29 percent annual growth on 2008 revenues of $82.6 million. Incredible Pizza also ranked No. 792 on the 2009 Inc. 5000 with three-year growth of 369 percent.

Marsh is familiar with the concept, which includes franchise sales and employs roughly 2,500 across 16 pizza buffet and gaming centers, including the 2772 S. Campbell Ave. store. The company’s photo pitch has left a bad taste in his mouth.

“My family patronizes Springfield’s Incredible Pizza regularly, and we never fail to leave without spending at least $40,” writes Marsh, who resembles Ron Livingston of “Office Space” and “Swingers” fame. (See Marsh’s pictures on his Facebook page.) “I think the next time we visit, I’m going to pay for our admission using free passes to the Vandivort Theatre or the Moxie Cinema, and see how well that works.”

Brewer says that won’t be necessary.

“We’ll take a look at the Craig’s List posting,” he writes, “and adjust it so we can avoid this type of mischaracterization.”


4 Responses to “Did Incredible Pizza photo shoot backfire?”

  1. 1 Jim Lee January 5, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    Ahh, for the good old days of Happy Joe’s!

  2. 2 allenmarsh January 6, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    I don’t think it’s much of a revelation to say that it’s a low-budget shoot.

  3. 3 Underwhelmed February 7, 2010 at 4:46 am

    …This is news? Even for blog standards?

    Incredible Pizza said it in plain English: It’s a low-budget, low-profile photo shoot. That’s it.
    This kind of gig happens all the time, in every business under the sun. It’s actually surprising that Incredible Pizza appealed to the public at all; an employee family would have surely sufficed.
    So frankly, it’s pretty sad that this is a “story,” even in the blogosphere.
    What self-respecting actor could possibly be put off by this? It’s a local business looking for smiling faces. Doesn’t take De Niro to pull that off.
    Good luck to any “actor” that takes the time to get offended by this, and shame on SBJ and its staff for giving it any credence, in any capacity.

    By the way: How does it bolster the article’s credibility to subjectively point out a quasi resemblance to Ron Livingston?

  1. 1 Springfield Business Journal Digs Into Pizza and Talent Compensation | Video and Film Production in Springfield, Branson and Southwest Missouri Trackback on January 5, 2010 at 5:44 pm

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