Round Table Looks to Young Agency to Keep Product 'Fresh'
LOS ANGELES--Local agency wunderkind Siltanen/Keehn parlayed a former client relationship into its first taste of retail business, winning the creative ad account of Round Table Pizza without a review.
With the win, the 9-month-old shop, which claims billings in excess of $100 million, expands a roster dominated by dot-coms and high-tech businesses into traditional ad categories.
Evans Hardy & Young, Santa Barbara, Calif., continues to handle the $10 million advertiser's media buying. Round Table parted with its previous creative shop, Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore., late last year and has since worked without an agency partner.
Glenn Lunde, Round Table chief marketing officer, joined the pizza marketer in December 1999 from Taco Bell, where he was senior director of marketing.
At Taco Bell, Lunde worked with several S/K executives, including president Pam Keehn and new business account director Mia von Sadovszky.
"I really felt they understood the idea that in fast food, the challenge is always how do you entertain and communicate the product idea," Lunde said.
"Round Table makes the best pizza; their challenge has been value perception because competitors like Papa John's and Pizza Hut and Domino's are so aggressive in the price arena. ... Round Table is the last bastion of dine-in pizza and that's part of the challenge--how to keep Round Table fresh," Lunde added.
The win continues a giddy streak that has seen the young shop win high-profile business, such as CarsDirect.com, and acclaim for campaigns like FreeInternet.com's, which features Bob, the talking baby. The character has been optioned by NBC for a potential sitcom.
Infant fame and online account gains notwithstanding, "There's nothing better than pizza," said Keehn. "Round Table is a leader brand, which is a terrific opportunity. You're starting at a place where people already love the product.
"It's a matter of connecting them more strongly or connecting people who haven't tried it in new markets to a product that is already highly regarded," said Keehn.
Round Table operates more than 520 franchised and company-owned restaurants in California, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Alaska and Hawaii. In calendar year 1999, the Walnut Creek, Calif.-based company reported system sales of $370 million. K