An April Fools' Prank for a Legendary Pittsburgh Sandwich Chain

One of our favorite moments in LionMaus history was when we helped our client ‘punk’ the city of Pittsburgh – for a good cause. Since 1933, Primanti Bros. has been synonymous with Pittsburgh. In the Spring of 2013, the iconic restaurant chain announced on social media that it was adding a new face to the legendary mural in its original restaurant, and invited people to guess who it might be – thousands responded. But no-one was prepared for the shocking ‘reveal’: that Primanti’s was adding retiring Baltimore Raven (and arch-nemesis) Ray Lewis – in honor of his role in keeping the Steelers offense on its toes. With the help of the original mural artist, Primanti’s posted a faux photo of the updated mural, causing a city-wide social media uproar. The debates were stoked further by a legion of local influencers (journalists, broadcasters, bloggers) who LionMaus had recruited days in advance to be ‘in’ on the surprise and spur online debate. TV crews showed up within hours.

Hundreds of thousands of Twitter and Facebook impressions later, the April Fools prank was revealed to be a way of raising awareness for the true new addition to the mural: a pair of local disabled sled hockey players who were paralympic medalists. Primanti Bros. made a cash donation to the team, The Mighty Penguins, at a mural unveiling event that was covered by three major TV network affiliates, PensTV, and the region’s two largest newspapers. See the Post Gazette piece here.

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