GM Marketing Exec Joins Pizza Hut

Bob Kraut Expected to Succeed Kristin Miller as VP-Advertising and Brand Image

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DETROIT (AdAge.com) -- Bob Kraut, director-brand marketing and advertising operations in North America at General Motors Corp., is leaving the automaker after 11 years to join Pizza Hut, the carmaker confirmed.
Yum Brands' Pizza Hut is in the midst of a massive restructuring. GM's Bob Kraut is expected to replace Kristin Miller as VP-advertising and brand image.
Yum Brands' Pizza Hut is in the midst of a massive restructuring. GM's Bob Kraut is expected to replace Kristin Miller as VP-advertising and brand image.

VP-advertising
A spokesman for Pizza Hut wouldn't discuss the move, but it's expected he will succeed Kristan Miller, VP-advertising and brand image, who earlier announced she would leave the marketer in February to be with her family.

Mr. Kraut could not be reached for comment.

As part of a massive management restructuring, Yum Brands on Nov. 16 installed Scott Bergren as president from exec VP-chief marketing officer of Yum Brands. He replaced Peter Hearl, who moved into a combined role of chief operating and development officer for Yum Brands.

Sales decline
Amid same-store sales declines that have persisted for a year, Pizza Hut has refused to confirm its marketing plans, citing competitive reasons. But executives close to the company have hinted at New Year's Eve as a possible launch date for a fresh advertising effort, and said the chain is considering a lunchtime toasted-sandwich offering to compete with the likes of Subway Restaurants.

One of Mr. Kraut's most recent efforts at GM was a feel-good corporate TV advertising effort dubbed "Then and Now" from McCann Erickson Detroit in Birmingham, Mich., focusing on an Everclear song and historical images of past and present celebrities.

Campaign resonates with young buyers
Independent research by consultant CNW Marketing Research found that the campaign resonated with young buyers. Some 83% of those under age 25 who intended to purchase a new vehicle and 70% of those over 50 reacted positively to the TV commercial. CNW said in February the figure is rarely above 40%, and the 30% range is where GM typically rates.

Mr. Kraut arrived at GM in 1995 as advertising and promotions manager of the GMC truck brand as the automaker was starting to hire a slew of package-goods specialists for its new brand-management structure. During his tenure at the automaker, Mr. Kraut held a variety of marketing jobs, including advertising director of the Pontiac-GMC Division, brand manager for the Pontiac Grand Prix and marketing director for the Pontiac GTO.

A GM spokesman said no successor has been named.
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