PAPA JOHN'S PIZZA CHAIN SHIFTS $45 MILLION ACCOUNT

Drops Austin Kelly After Six Months for Zimmerman Partners

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Papa John's International has awarded creative duties on its $45 million advertising account to Zimmerman Partners Advertising without a review.

The No. 4 pizza chain split with Interpublic Group of Cos.' Austin Kelly, Atlanta, after just six months. Omnicom Group-owned Zimmerman, like Austin Kelly before it, had been a field agency for the chain's South Florida franchise group Miami Pizza.

Created current ad
Zimmerman, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.,

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produced the campaign for the current Grilled Chicken Alfredo Pizza promotion under the "Better Ingredients. Better Pizza" tagline starring founder and piemaker John Schnatter.

Austin Kelly had agreed to a six-month contract when its win ended a six-month review, but the relationship quickly deflated.

"We dated for a while and it appeared pretty obvious to both parties that there was not a match made in heaven," said Jim Spruell, executive vice president and chief creative officer. "Culturally we were from two different worlds."

"We're pleased with the expertise Zimmerman brings to the Papa John's advertising table," said Mary Ann Palmer, Papa John's Senior VP and chief resource officer, in a statement. Papa Johns has been without a chief marketing officer since the 2001 departure of Phil Sysnowski.

Omnicom conflict?
Papa John's isn't the only pizza chain in the Omnicom family. BBDO Worldwide in New York handles advertising for category leader Pizza Hut, which is part of Yum Brands. A spokeswoman for Pizza Hut, however, said the account win "isn't an issue. These are mutually exclusive companies that happen to have one parent. BBDO is our agency of record and we trust them with our confidentiality."

Executives from Papa John's could be reached by press time.

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