Del Taco Creative Goes to Camp & King

Fast-Food Chain Was Working With Doner

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Havas-backed Camp & King has been named the agency of record for Del Taco following a review.

The account was previously at Michigan-based Doner, but it was believed that the incumbent, which has had the account since 2008, did not participate in the review; SRI oversaw the pitch process. Camp & King will be responsible for TV, digital, radio, in-store and other traditional and non-traditional media, but media buying and planning will stay at Palisades MediaGroup. A new campaign is expected to break in early 2013.

Del Taco is the third-largest Mexican chain in the U.S., with systemwide sales of about $601 million in 2011, a 3.8% increase over the prior year, according to Technomic. Taco Bell is by far the largest chain in the category, with 50% market share and $6.8 billion in sales. Fast-casual chain Chipotle is the No. 2 chain in the category, with $2.26 billion in systemwide sales in 2011, a 23.4% jump over 2010.

"When we talked about the review and what we were looking for, [we wanted] an agency that was going to bring relevant...but also really strong strategic communications chops," said John Cappasola, chief brand officer at Del Taco, adding that it was important for the agency to understand how to market a "mature brand."

Mr. Cappasola also said that the chain recognizes that it needs to reinforce its positioning as a chain that offers both value and quality, so that it can compete against both Taco Bell and Chipotle -- the former, which is known for its value, and the latter, its food quality. He added that while the campaign isn't set in stone yet, "our positioning around quality value and getting proper credit for the things we do as a credible fresh-value player is critically important."

Del Taco, which has more than 545 restaurants in 17 states, is a relatively small measured-media spender. In 2011, it spent just under $7 million in U.S. measured media, according to Kantar, down from $8.4 million in 2010.

Still, the account is a boon for Camp & King, which is a relatively young agency, having just opened its doors in early 2011. The San Francisco shop counts Old Navy, Gap and Capital One among its clients.