Little Caesars Seeks Shop for Brand Overhaul

Pizza Chain Looks to Raise Spending and Recently Signed on Horizon Media

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Little Caesars is seeking a creative agency to assist with a significant brand and marketing revamp, according to people familiar with its agency review.

Executives with knowledge of the search said that the chain is expected to increase ad spending considerably. It's understood there is no consultant overseeing the process. Little Caesars does not have an agency of record. People familiar with the company said that Little Caesars recently recruited independent agency Horizon Media for media duties after a review last year.

in October, Little Caesars brought in Ed Gleich as senior VP-global marketing, according to his LinkedIn page. Mr. Gleich had been senior VP-marketing and media at the Golden Corral chain, which has worked with Horizon for more than a decade, though it's not clear whether there's a correlation. Also in October, Dana Tilley was named VP-research, development and innovation.

Calls to Little Caesars representatives were not returned. Horizon declined to comment.

Little Caesars was long known for its "Pizza! Pizza!" message, a campaign created by the now-shuttered Cliff Freeman & Partners. More recently, the chain has been known for its $5 large pizza deal. It also launched a national campaign earlier this year.

In 2011 Little Caesars increased measured-media spending 32.5%, to $22 .4 million, according to Kantar. But that 's still less than 25% of what its rivals spend. Though the company is the fourth-largest measured-media spender in the U.S. pizza category -- after Pizza Hut, Domino's and Papa John's -- the top three spend more than $100 million annually.

Little Caesars, owned by the Ilitch family and founded in 1959, is also the fourth-largest chain by system-wide pizza sales, according to Technomic, with estimated 2010 U.S. sales of $1.25 billion, up 10.9% from 2009. The number of units rose 5.7% in 2010, to about 2,800. The chain's peak store count was about 5,000 locations in the early 1990s. ~~ Contributing: Alexandra Bruell

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