Little Caesars Taps BFG 9000 for National Creative

Can Indie Shop Top Famous 'Pizza Pizza' Campaign?

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Little Caesars has awarded New York-based indie shop BFG 9000 its creative account after a quiet review.

The chain's senior VP-global marketing, Ed Gleich, told Ad Age that BFG 9000 was chosen because of its "great strategic insights, and great body of creative that communicates brand messages that get noticed in the crowded ad space."

The agency launched a couple of years ago, after high-profile ad creative Gerry Graf decided to leave the big-agency world and put out his own shingle. His knack for humorous advertising means we can expect the work for Little Caesars to be lighthearted and funny.

"There's no question [BFG 9000 does] fun well, and with a character like [Little Caesar], we feel our brand personality is going to be suited well for that ," said Mr. Gleich.

BFG 9000 declined to comment.

The move marks the pizza chain's return to national advertising with an agency of record, after several years of working with a range of agencies for local advertising.

Little Caesars has been known in recent years primarily for its $5 large pizza deals, but its most iconic campaign is undoubtedly the "Pizza! Pizza!" While the slogan was developed circa 1980, work from now-defunct shop Cliff Freeman & Partners popularized it.

Mr. Gleich joined Little Caesars in October, and under him, the chain seems to be tweaking its marketing approach. He had previously been senior VP-marketing and media at Golden Corral, which has worked with Horizon for more than a decade.

Ad Age reported in February that the chain hired independent shop Horizon Media for media duties.

Little Caesars, founded in 1959 and owned by the Ilitch family, is the fourth-largest chain by system-wide pizza sales, according to Technomic. It had estimated U.S. system-wide sales of $1.48 billion in 2011, up 18.1% from 2010, and unit count up 9.5%, to about 3,500. U.S. sales were $1.25 billion in 2010, 10.9% more than in 2009.

The chain's peak store count was about 5,000 locations in the early 1990s.

Little Caesars upped measured media spending 32.5% last year, to $22 .4 million, according to Kantar Media. That's still less than the top three pizza chains -- Pizza Hut, Domino's and Papa John's -- all of which spend more than $100 million annually.

Contributing: Rupal Parekh

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