March 31, 2009

Does pennies for pizza campaign break law?

A pizza chain may be violating U.S. laws with a promotion involving advertising stickers on pennies.

CiCi's Pizza, which has its headquarters in Coppell, Texas, and operates 650 restaurants, mostly in the eastern United States, started its Penny Picker Up campaign Monday, the Jacksonville, Fla., Times-Union reported. The company distributed a total of 1 million pennies to stores with stickers redeemable for food.

A spokesman for the U.S. Mint declined to comment on whether the stickers violate laws against defacing U.S. currency or using it for advertising, saying any decision to prosecute would be up to the Justice Department.

Tom Koenigsberg, CiCi's head of marketing, said he believes the campaign is legal because the stickers are redeemable. Any pennies returned to the stores are to be donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters, Advertising Age said.