Pizza Hut Approves BBDO Concepts

NEW YORK Pizza Hut has green-lighted creative concepts from longtime agency BBDO following presentations this week by BBDO and Ogilvy & Mather, sources said.

The New York shops presented on Monday to the Dallas-based client, which spends about $250 million annually in domestic measured media. The brief could not be determined, and Pizza Hut officials declined comment.

The client several weeks ago began reaching out to agencies beyond Omnicom Group’s BBDO [Adweek Online, Sept. 29]. That shop has handled the Yum! Brands-owned business since 1987, but the company has engaged other agencies on the account during the 19-year span, notably Omnicom’s Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco and independent Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore.

After fending off competition from WPP Group’s Ogilvy (which handles Yum!’s KFC business in some overseas markets), BBDO remains Pizza Hut’s sole ad shop, sources said.

The solicitation of ideas was driven by frustrated franchisees of the pizza restaurant chain, which has seen seven straight quarters of declining sales, according to sources.

Pizza Hut had also reached out to Interpublic Group’s DraftFCB in Chicago, a Yum! roster agency that handles Taco Bell, and to Publicis Groupe’s The Kaplan Thaler Group in New York and two undisclosed others, sources said.

In the end, all four of those shops declined to present to Pizza Hut, either because of perceived account conflicts or workload.

Representatives at the agencies involved referred calls to the client.

Pizza Hut spent $160 million in U.S. media from January through June of this year and $265 million in 2005, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

WPP’s Mediaedge:cia handles media for all brands under the Yum! banner.