Just three months after naming a new U.S. chief marketing officer, Dunkin' Donuts has put its U.S. creative business up for review and aims to complete the process by the end of the first quarter of 2018.
The review begins this month and could mean that Dunkin' will no longer run on Hill Holliday, which has handled creative for the brand since April 1998 and introduced the tagline "America Runs on Dunkin'" in 2006.
Media, which has also been under Hill Holliday since 1998, will not be affected by this review.
Hill Holliday was invited to participate in the invitation-only review, which is focused on national creative services, Dunkin' Donuts said. Interpublic Group of Cos' Hill Holliday deferred comment to Dunkin' Donuts. The longtime Dunkin' Donuts agency will compete in the review, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
Tony Weisman, who previously served as North American CEO of Publicis Groupe's DigitasLBi, took the marketing helm at Dunkin' Donuts in late September and is directing the review, Dunkin' Donuts said in a statement. DigitasLBi has handled digital duties for Dunkin' Donuts for about six years.
"In today's competitive landscape and constantly changing media environment, we need to ensure our marketing dollars are working as effectively and as efficiently as they possibly can," Dunkin' Donuts said in a statement. "This review is part of that plan."
Dunkin' Donuts added that it has "a strong, longstanding relationship" with Hill Holliday.
"We are deeply proud of our work with Hill Holliday to build the brand, including the creation of one of the most iconic taglines in history, 'America Runs on Dunkin'. However, we have not conducted an agency review since we began our relationship with Hill Holliday nearly two decades ago, and feel the time is right to take a fresh look at our marketing needs to achieve our next phase of growth, and drive even greater business results for our franchisees," the chain said.
The review is being handled by MediaLink, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Representatives from MediaLink declined to comment.
Dunkin' Donuts is the largest unit of Dunkin' Brands Inc., which also runs the Baskin-Robbins ice cream chain. Dunkin' Donuts U.S. measured media spending rose 10.1 percent to $150.7 million last year, according to Kantar Media data.
Dunkin' Donuts' U.S. comparable sales rose 0.6 percent in the recent third quarter, as visits to its shops declined but the average spent per visit increased. Results at the chain, which has about 9,000 locations in the United States, were weakened in part by the hurricanes that hit during the period.
Dunkin' Donuts, which competes against a variety of chains in coffee and on-the-go dining, is testing a streamlined menu in some locations and has seen millions of patrons sign up for its mobile app, which accounted for 3 percent of transactions in the third quarter.
The nation's two largest restaurant chains, McDonald's and Starbucks, posted stronger U.S. comparable sales gains than Dunkin' in their latest quarterly periods. The review comes just over a year after longtime McDonald's executive David Hoffmann became president of Dunkin' Donuts U.S. and Canada in October 2016.