NEW YORK — Pizza Hut is rethinking its contest daring people to ask "Sausage or Pepperoni?" at the presidential debate Tuesday.
After the stunt triggered backlash last week, the company said it's moving the promotion online, where a contestant will be randomly selected to win free pizza for life.
The pizza delivery chain had offered the prize — a pie a week for 30 years or a check for $15,600 — to anyone who posed the question to either President Barack Obama or Republican candidate Mitt Romney during the live town hall-style debate.
But blogs and media outlets immediately took the pizza delivery chain to task for trying to capitalize on the election buzz by injecting itself into the process.
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Pizza Hut spokesman Doug Terfehr said the majority of the feedback the company has seen has been very positive. He said that moving the contest online was a "natural progression of the campaign" after people got excited about the idea and "wished they could get in on it."
Pizza Hut, a unit of Louisville-based Yum Brands, said it will still honor the prize if someone poses the question live at the debate. But it's encouraging everyone to participate in the new online version.
The company will award two prizes if someone does ask the question.
The change comes after Pizza Hut's stunt became the butt of jokes last week.
The blog Gawker wrote about the stunt under the headline, "Want Free Pizza Hut Pizza for Life? Just Make a Mockery of the American Democratic System on Live TV."