Papa John’s Consolidates Print, Broadcast at Fricks/Firestone

By Katy Eckmann and Steve Krajewski

ATLANTA–Fricks/Firestone here is in while The Richards Group is out of the mix for Papa John’s national brand creative account, worth an estimated $5-10 million.

Last week the No. 4 pizza chain consolidated its broadcast and print advertising at Fricks/Firestone. Previously, Halbleib/Beggs of Louisville, Ky., handled print and Fricks/Firestone shared broadcast creative duties with Richards in Dallas.

‘It makes it so much simpler to have one agency do our brand creative,’ said Syl Sosnowski, Papa John’s vice president of marketing, confirming the appointment of Fricks/Firestone as national branding agency.

Although last summer Richards was tapped as Papa John’s agency of record, Fricks/Firestone gained creative assignments a few months later, thanks to creative director Elliot Firestone’s former ties to the client. Just last month, Sosnowski expressed his intention to use both shops (Adweek, May 5).

Fricks/Firestone president John Fricks credits the agency’s recent Papa John’s TV campaign as contributing to the client’s change of heart. The two spots, which broke in May on national network TV, showcase Pizza Hut co-founder Frank Carney as a Papa John’s franchisee.

The campaign ‘had such tremendous results,’ Fricks said. ‘It really just cemented (the account) for us.’

Sosnowski agreed with the spots’ success, noting Papa John’s ‘double-digit’ sales increases in May. He declined to cite specific figures.

Fricks/Firestone is now developing a 12-month plan which includes print, radio and more TV. Sosnowski said Fricks/Firestone will ‘probably’ handle future national media placement, though that decision is not yet final. Shandwick USA, New York, handles public relations, and various agencies manage local co-op marketing and media buying for Papa John’s 1,300 locations.

Officials at Richards declined to comment on the Papa John’s loss, which follows the exit of its AlphaGraphics account earlier this month and coincides with an advertising consolidation being conducted by client Continental Airlines.

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