Opinion: Pizzagate puts 'Brand Bill' on steroids
OPINION: Who would've thought slopping a $1.80 can of spaghetti on a pizza could take someone on a global publicity bender?
Bill English took the pineapple on pizza debate and put it on Middle New Zealand steroids - and in return Brand Bill got a serious dose of performance enhancement.
A bit of Middle New Zealand banter was always his target, but this has made English the star of a global conversation.
It's gone bonkers. It's made headlines in America, the UK, Australia and Canada.
Bill English made it onto Jimmy Kimmel Live!, which has a nightly audience of more than 2 million - I mean, we're used to seeing John Key on John Oliver, but Bill English?
It's actually a very simple recipe: take a budget brand politician, add a pinch of personality, stir in a polarising topic - then let the power of social media take over.
Just like that, "Boring Bill" was relatable. Bill English became everyone's dad.
I mean we all know it's cringeworthy. And it's weird. For starters, who the hell wears a white shirt when they're making pizza? And why did he take the selfie at that terrible angle?
But as bizarre as it is, we all wanted in on the conversation and we're all still talking about it five days on.
It's a somewhat unintentional stroke of genius.
He's adamant his press team wasn't behind it; that one of his kids dared him to post a picture. Well here's an idea Prime Minister - get that kid out of their seat at the dinner table and into a political advisor role.
Yes, this was deliberate. Yes, he tried to be relatable. But there's no way Bill English could have known he would hit the social media jackpot. Going global was never part of the plan.
This is what politicians and their branding teams spend hours trying to create - a personality, a brand.
For John Key it came naturally, and everyone thought Brand Key was going to be a hard act to follow.
But the pizza has turned a policy wonk into a down-to-earth kiwi bloke - that is a brand.
And if he can use Brand Bill right, it could carry English to his first election win.