Del Taco, Koo Koo Roo On the Hunt




LOS ANGELES –Two Southern California fast-food chains are scouting for agencies.
Del Taco, which settled a $1 million lawsuit last week over its use of a “Del Taco” swashbuckling character, has parted ways with WongDoody, Santa Monica, Calif., which created the branding effort last summer.
“We’re looking for an [agency] out there that’s really small–maybe some creatives who just went out on their own … and just want to make some great television commercials,” said Del Taco marketing vice president Tim Hackbardt.
Hackbardt, who came aboard in late November as a replacement for Annette Shehan, said the company will retain other resources to handle graphics and media. Hackbardt previously worked for Eugene, Ore.-based Taco Time International.
WongDoody principal Tracy Wong said the shop would not defend the account, which had been valued at $10 million. “There’s a new sheriff in town, and he wants something new,” Wong said. “We wanted to continue being a full-service agency.”
Executives at the Laguna Hills, Calif.-based regional Mexican-style fast-food chain said they may continue to use the Del Taco character, but are looking for another agency to handle the brand’s broadcast creative. The company last week reached a settlement with TriStar Pictures and Zorro Productions regarding the use of the masked character, but said the split with WongDoody had nothing to do with the lawsuit.
Separately, executives with Irvine, Calif.-based Prandium are looking for an agency to handle creative and media for its Koo Koo Roo chain. Advertising had been handled in-house for the past year since the chain was acquired by Prandium, which also owns El Torito, Chi Chi’s and Hamburger Hamlet.
Jennifer Moloney, vice president of marketing, is heading the review. Billings are undisclosed. Advertising will likely include radio and outdoor ads, company officials said. K