Brand Experience and Activation > Excellence in Brand Experience




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Why is this work relevant for Brand Experience & Activation?

Gerry’s Partisan Pizza was a brand experience and activation that turned a complicated tool of political corruption into a pizza shop. Gerry’s made people realize how US politicians were manipulating their votes through an experience familiar to almost every American – getting pizza delivered. The activation changed what it means to do non-profit work around serious issues by putting a critical problem into a fun and easy-to-understand lens.


Gerrymandering occurs when politicians redraw voting district lines to give themselves an unfair advantage in elections. It enables politicians to pick their voters from behind closed doors instead of voters picking their politicians. Gerrymandering affects 70% of the United States – nearly 188 million people – and the district maps drawn in 2021 will be in effect for 10 years.

On September 27, 2021, Texas announced its new congressional district map, which added a new 37th district that included much of the city of Austin. Legislators used gerrymandering to diminish the voting power of minorities. Non-profit, anti-corruption organization RepresentUS needed to create a campaign that would make more Americans aware of the corruption of gerrymandering before the maps were confirmed. Gerrymandering is a complicated political issue, so we needed to explain the problem in simple terms to encourage people to join our protest.

Describe the creative idea

Three weeks after Texas’s district maps were unveiled, we opened Gerry’s Partisan Pizza, a corrupt shop that served and delivered free pizza only within the bounds of the gerrymandered 37th voting district. We used the district maps and the voter address data to determine who lived within the 37th district and thus who was eligible for free pizza. We exposed the corruption of gerrymandering by handpicking our customers in the same way as politicians were handpicking their voters. We opened a brick-and-mortar shop and delivered.

We then went on a two-week food-truck tour, giving out pizzas to residents of gerrymandered districts across the United States. From Texas to Wisconsin, we covered more than 5,000 miles of gerrymandered land and served more than 6,000 pizza slices. As in Texas, we used the maps and voter address data in each city to determine who was eligible for pizza.

Describe the strategy

Gerrymandering is a complicated, nationwide issue that threatens 70% of the United States and nearly 188MM people. We needed to simplify and contextualize its impact in terms people could understand: your neighbor who lives one block away could be unrepresented in an election.

If we could get people to see and understand the corruption of gerrymandering by interacting with our activation, we could get them to call their lawmakers and demand change. Our target audience was, first, residents of Texas’s 37th voting district and then the residents of the other districts where our food truck stopped as it crossed the country. Our call to action was to contact your lawmaker and demand an end to gerrymandering.

Describe the execution

We opened a brick-and-mortar Gerry’s Partisan Pizza shop in downtown Austin, Texas, within the bounds of the 37th voting district. Signage around the shop educated passerby and those who entered the shop. During opening weekend, we ran a local TV and YouTube

Commercial, which resulted in more foot traffic to the activation.

The pizza shop was a form of OOH with which passersby could actively engage by stopping to talk with brand ambassadors about the issue and taking flyers to learn more about it. Over the course of the weekend, we ran out of our supply of pizzas, having filled the shop with Texans eager to learn more about gerrymandering.

After that weekend, we took Gerry’s food truck on the road to five other states, serving slices in gerrymandered districts and earning features on nightly broadcast news in every state in which we stopped.

List the results

From Texas to Wisconsin, we covered more than 5,000 miles (8,046 km) of gerrymandered land and served more than 6,000 pizza slices.

Gerry’s was hugely popular in the press, resulting in more than 360MM earned media impressions and a reach of more than 2.18MM. Gerry’s was featured on broadcast news in every city the pizza truck stopped and was featured everywhere online, from pop culture publications like Eater to CBS news.

Governors and mayors from multiple states came out to Gerry’s Partisan Pizza and spoke on broadcast news about the activation. Of the individuals who engaged with Gerry’s Partisan Pizza, 35% called their lawmakers via our CTA phone number and demanded change. After our activation, the US Department of Justice for the Biden administration sued the state of Texas, alleging that the gerrymandered or redrawn map infringed the voting rights of minority voters.

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