Round Table Pizza Mulls Trio in Finals

LOS ANGELES Round Table Pizza said it has cut to three finalists in the review for creative chores on its $20 million ad account.

Maiden Lane in San Francisco, R/West in Portland, Ore., and WongDoody here, all independently owned shops, are in contention. Three undisclosed shops did not advance.

Independent Siltanen & Partners, which has held the account for seven years, declined to defend, the client said.

“We saw some great insights and perspectives from all the participants, but each of the three finalists demonstrated a comprehensive understanding of the business and provided a strategic and creative framework for how best to achieve our goals,” said client CMO Renae Scott.

Scott came to Round Table from the Carl’s Jr. chain last October. Round Table expects to brief agencies for finals June 1 and select a new agency by early July.

The imminent departure of Round Table adds to Siltanen’s recent woes, but agency president Tim Murphy remained upbeat. “At this point in time we’re fine,” said Murphy, who joined the shop from Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi & Saatchi last August. “We have projects with other clients. But we’re always looking for other business.”

The shop led by former TBWA\Chiat\Day creative director Rob Siltanen has gotten into several major pitches of late, but has failed to convert. It was a finalist for Hyundai Motor America’s $600 million business, won by Omnicom’s Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in April, and for the Southern California regional Honda business, won by Secret Weapon Marketing.

Round Table is one of the Marina del Rey, Calif.-based agency’s few remaining clients and by far its largest in terms of billings and revenue.

“We’re disappointed that it’s going,” said Murphy. “We were never given any explanation. We declined to defend because it became obvious they wanted someone new.”

The Concord, Calif.-based client’s most recent campaign featured the chain’s premium Artisan pizzas and used humor to show that differences in male and female tastes could be satisfied by the restaurant’s menu.