JWT wins Domino's spot buys

By Published on .

Shift of $30 mil account could mean trouble for chain's lead shop Grey

Domino's Pizza delivered its consolidated $30 million spot TV account to J. Walter Thompson USA, Detroit, a move that could spell trouble for lead agency Grey Advertising, New York.


On the losing side are Domino's four regional spot buying agencies: Ross Roy Communications, Bloomfield Hills, Mich., and Baltimore; Fogarty Klein & Partners, Dallas; Dailey & Associates, Los Angeles; and HMS Partners/McFarland & Drier, Miami.

Grey will continue to handle Domino's creative and network TV accounts; the latter was worth $45 million last year, according to Competitive Media Reports.

Grey pitched against JWT for the spot buying assignment, one insider said, and the loss to a roster newcomer does not bode well for the incumbent. "Grey has to be worried," said one executive familiar with the account. "How long will it be before Thompson tries to move in on the creative? Grey's work on the account hasn't been exactly distinguished."

JWT has been without a fast-food account since it lost Boston Market earlier this year.

But one reason Domino's hasn't so far complained about Grey's creative is sales have been on the upswing. The pizza chain reported U.S. same-store sales rose about 2% in fiscal 1995.

"J. Walter Thompson is the No. 1 spot TV media buyer in the country," said Cheryl Bachelder, Domino's VP-marketing and product development. "Its clout and purchasing power increases the efficiency of our media purchases by millions of dollars."

"We now have two of the best top 10 agencies as our partners," she added. "This synergy will help us bring our message . . . to even more consumers."


JWT has been on a roll. The Chicago office recently won the $40 million account for Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.; that win, the agency claims, propelled it to No. 1 in spot TV billings.

JWT told Fox it would try to link the studio up with other clients in promotional deals.

"Certainly, one could see Fox linking with Domino's for various promotions. I'm sure it's a point Thompson made to Domino's as well," said one insider.

JWT has had some pizza experience; the Chicago office used to handle Showbiz Pizza Time's Chuck E. Cheese's chain.

JWT's spot win continues a trend among full-service agencies to chase more media-only business. But if the agency eventually snares Domino's creative as well, full-service shops might become more reluctant to let other agency media departments take even a portion of their clients' business.

Copyright May 1996 Crain Communications Inc.

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