Pizza Hut's Creative Account Heads to McGarryBowen

Business Will Shift From The Martin Agency, Which Handled it Since 2009

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Pizza Hut has named McGarryBowen its new creative agency.

The marketer in June launched a review for its creative account, which had been at Interpublic Group of Cos.' The Martin Agency since 2009 (Martin succeeded longtime shop Omnicom's BBDO).

Santa Monica-based consultancy Select Resources International oversaw the review process, and in the final round, four shops competed: Dentsu-owned McGarryBowen, Martin, Interpublic's Mullen and Havas, New York. Pizza Hut's media agency, Publicis Groupe's Optimedia, was unaffected by the search.

Pizza Hut
Pizza Hut

"We're thrilled to announce that moving forward McGarryBowen will be the advertising agency of record for Pizza Hut," a Pizza Hut spokesman said in a statement. "We appreciate all of the time and effort that each of the competing agencies put into this opportunity and we saw world-class work throughout the process. We wish all the best to The Martin Agency, Mullen and Havas but are looking forward to starting this new partnership." Martin did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

McGarryBowen pitched the business out of both its New York and Chicago offices, but the account will be run out of Chicago. Tim Scott, president of McGarryBowen's Cicago office and international CEO, said in reference to the Pizza Hut win that the shop looks "forward to helping further build their business and brand as the category leader."

It's the second piece of Pizza Hut business that's been parked in the Windy City this year. Just before the marketer launched a review, it awarded the WingStreet piece of the creative account to O'Keefe, Reinhard & Paul, a new independent shop in Chicago.

Pizza Hut is the third-largest measured media spender among owner Yum Brands' chains, according to Kantar Media. In 2012, Pizza Hut spent about $240 million on U.S. measured media, while KFC spent about $263.5 million and Taco Bell spent about $280 million.

The win for McGarryBowen means that it once again has a major fast-food brand among its clients. Eariler this year lead agency duties for Burger King moved from McGarryBowen to Mother.

An immediate focus will likely be getting customers into locations. Pizza Hut in the second quarter posted a same-store sales decline of 2% in the U.S., while sibling chains Taco Bell were up 2% and KFC was up 3%.

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