Fallon has been named lead creative agency for chicken chain and sports bar Buffalo Wild Wings without a review, according to people familiar with the matter. The incumbent, Atlanta-based shop 22Squared, is understood to be losing the creative portion but will retain the media planning and in-store promotion duties.
A spokeswoman for the Minneapolis-based marketer did not provide details on the move, saying an announcement is expected next week. 22Squared referred calls to Buffalo Wild Wings, and Fallon representatives declined to comment.
Publicis Groupe 's Fallon , 22Squared and Omnicom Group's Fleishman-Hillard, which will continue as PR agency, signed one-year contracts with the chain, people familiar with the matter said. It is understood that Horizon Media will continue to handle media-buying duties. Another addition to the roster is expected with indie shop Space 150, which is understood to have picked up social-media duties.
Buffalo Wild Wings upped its measured-media spending considerably in 2011. The chain spent $60.7 million in the U.S. from January through October, 30% more than the year-earlier period, according to Kantar. It spent about $44.3 million in 2009.
In the company's third-quarter earnings call, Mary Twinem, CFO, treasurer and executive VP, said: "Because of our higher same-store sales level through the year, we had additional dollars that we could deploy, and we are doing that in the fourth quarter. We have cable TV in November that we haven't had before. ... So we're very excited about what we have going on."
During that quarter, Buffalo Wild Wings posted same-store sales at company-owned restaurants up 5.7%, and franchised restaurants up 4.2%. According to Technomic, the chain's systemwide sales in 2010 were up 13.8%, to $1.7 billion, and it had about 732 stores.
The hire of Fallon marks the chain's first creative agency change since 2004, when it struck up a relationship with 22Squared -- then called WestWayne. Fallon 's first work for Buffalo Wild Wings is expected to air during the NCAA's March Madness.