Einstein Bros. Bagels Taps Y&R, Chicago, as Agency of Record

Fast-Growing Chain Plans to Up Advertising for Estimated $10 Million Media Account

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Einstein Bros. Bagels hasn't advertised much as it has grown to 350 locations in 27 states, but that's apparently about to change.

The Lakewood, Colo.-based chain has hired Y&R, Chicago, as its agency of record following a review that included three other agencies. Media spending is estimated at $8 million to $10 million annually, which would be a significant jump for a company that spent less than $500,000 last year, according to Kantar Media.

The moves comes nearly a year after James O'Reilly joined the marketer as chief concept officer following a stint at Yum Brands, where he was senior VP-U.S. marketing, and, before that, served as chief marketing officer for KFC in the U.S. His hiring came only five months after Jeff O'Neill, who had extensive experience with both Yum and Pepsi brands in previous jobs, was named CEO of Einstein Noah Restaurant Group.

In keeping with its pedigree, the new leadership team is expected to make the growing chain a more aggressive advertiser and marketer.

"We were impressed with the integrated ideas [Y&R] delivered, both on and offline," Mr. O'Reilly said. "Creative and media were seamless, including traditional, digital and social-marketing initiatives."

The win ought to provide a nice boost for Y&R's Chicago office, best known as Sears' agency of record. The shop handles some of the Hilton Hotels work that's currently up for review and last year parted ways with longtime client Miller, for whom it had been handling Miller Genuine Draft. But it did win creative duties on restaurant chain Bonefish Grill last year after that client parted ways with now-defunct Cliff Freeman & Partners.

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