Friendly's Puts Marketing and Media Account Into Review

Omnciom's Zimmerman, Incumbent Since 2007, Will Not Participate

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East Coast restaurant and ice-cream chain Friendly's has put its marketing account into review, according to executives familiar with the matter.

A Friendly's classic.
A Friendly's classic.
Omnicom Group's Zimmerman Advertising, the agency of record for Friendly's, is not participating in the review, according to a spokesman at the agency. Zimmerman, which handled marketing and media duties, won the account in late 2007. The pitch is being led by Boston-based consultancy Pile & Co., which oversaw the last Friendly's pitch. Calls to Friendly's, based in Wilbraham, Mass., were not immediately returned.

Sun Capital Partners, the private investment firm that owns Friendly's, is also home to Boston Market, another restaurant on Zimmerman's roster. Zimmerman's restaurant clients also include fast feeder White Castle and pizza chain Papa John's, as well as seafood quick-service restaurant Captain D's.

Friendly's in 2010 upped its ad spending to $10.3 million, up 42% from about $7.3 million in 2009, according to Kantar. However, According to Technomic, the chain's sales do not reflect the same trend. According to Technomic, the chain had 492 restaurants and $597 million in U.S. sales in 2010, down from 507 locations and $613 million in sales during 2009.

Friendly's in August refreshed part of its C-suite, hiring Harsha Agadi as chairman-CEO and Andrea McKenna as VP-marketing and chief marketing officer.