Wingstop Wonders Whether It's Time for a New Creative Agency

Review Follows Appointment of Starcom USA as Media AOR

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Wingstop Credit: Wingstop via YouTube

Wingstop appears to be looking for a new creative agency, Ad Age has learned.

The apparent search for a creative agency comes months after the chicken wing chain picked Starcom USA as its first national media agency of record.

"While I can't speak specifically to the rumors, I will tell you that we're constantly evaluating our agency partners to make sure they are positioned to support our rapidly growing business," Chief Marketing Officer Flynn Dekker said in an email, adding that sometimes the chain looks for agencies for projects and other times "for longer-term strategic initiatives."

He did not say whether Barkley, its creative agency, is part of the apparent review. Representatives from Barkley declined to comment.

In September, Wingstop announced that it had picked Publicis' Starcom USA to handle oversee strategic media planning and activation and Publicis' Performics for search and social.

"We'll continue to evaluate our business to see if there are other partners we should be bringing on board to support our climb towards 2,500 domestic units," Dekker said.

The Dallas-based chain currently has about 1,000 locations, more than 900 of which are in the U.S.

The review is being led by SRI, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

In a March press release, Wingstop President-CEO Charlie Morrison said the company's recently launched national advertising "is expected to provide us with more reach and frequency in existing media markets and first-time coverage for smaller and newer markets where we did not previously leverage TV and radio."

Later that month, Morrison added the role of chairman.

Wingstop spent $7 million on measured media in the U.S. in 2016, according to Kantar Media.

Sales at longstanding U.S. locations rose 3.2% in 2016. Total revenue, which includes royalty revenue and franchise fees and sales at company-owned shops, rose 17.2% to $91.4 million last year.

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