The Interpublic Group of Cos. agency won the account after a six-month review that included finalists independent Schafer Condon Carter, Chicago; Doe-Anderson, Louisville, Ky.; and Havas' Black Rocket Euro RSCG, San Francisco.
Incumbent Fricks/Firestone, Atlanta, did not compete for the business. Doe Anderson and Austin Kelley had done projects for the No. 3 U.S. pizza chain during the review.
As the Louisville, Ky.-based
Aegis Group's Carat will continue to handle national media planning and buying while local media will be handled by the chain's 60 co-ops.
"It's a brand that continues to be well-thought of by customers," said Jay Shields, president-CEO of Austin Kelley. Still, he acknowledged the uphill battle. "It's a neat strategic challenge with good competitors [and] a good product."
Mr. Shields said the agency will need to hire some creative and account staff.
Papa John's has been dogged by sluggish sales and this week reported same-store sales fell 3.1% for July.