Pizza chain CiCi's has awarded Publicis, Dallas, its marketing account after a review.
The review came in June after CiCi's and its agency, Interpublic's Deutsch, Los Angeles, parted ways after a relationship that dated back to 2004. Shops believed to be participating in the review included Richards Group in Dallas; Publicis's Plano, Texas, office; Barkley in Kansas City; and Marc USA's Chicago office. Consultancy SRI oversaw the review.
"Publicis demonstrated a clear understanding of the many facets of the CiCi's guest," said Nancy Hampton, CiCi's Pizza chief marketing officer, in a statement. "We feel confident in the agency's expertise and fresh approach to delivering relevant, creative and compelling national and local advertising as well as in-restaurant communications. The depth and strength of its media planning and buying also made Publicis the right partner for CiCi's Pizza."
Publicis, Dallas, will handle the $26 million account for CiCi's, which will include branding, creative and digital, as well as media planning and buying through Publicis Groupe . A new campaign will begin rolling out in 2012.
The new agency comes about a year after Nancy Hampton joined CiCi's as CMO. She had previously worked in various marketing and brand-strategy functions at Chili's, Corner Bakery Cafe and Romano's Macaroni Grill.
Cici's had $545 million in sales last year, down 4.9%, according to Technomic. Its number of units was down about 5%. As the sixth-largest pizza chain in the U.S. -- behind Pizza Hut, Domino's, Papa John's, Little Caesar's and Papa Murphy's -- it has a 1.8% market share. The U.S. pizza category was up about 3.2% overall in 2010, according to Technomic.
The Coppell, Texas-based pizza chain, which was acquired by private-equity firm Oncap in June 2007, has about 650 locations in 35 states. It announced in September that it would expand its U.S. presence by 500 stores in the next eight to 10 years.