NEW YORK Pizza Hut has launched a review of creative duties on its ad account, now at Omnicom Group's BBDO here, the client has confirmed.
The brand's major media spending totaled $275 million last year and $144 million in the first seven months of 2009, according to Nielsen. Those figures don't include online spending.
BBDO, which has handled the business since the late 1987, is defending. An agency representative referred calls to the Dallas-based client, which released a statement confirming the review.
"For more than 50 years, Pizza Hut has created some of the industry's most memorable and effective advertising," the statement said. "As we prepare for the next 50 years -- as America's favorite for pizza, pasta and wings -- we are seeking innovative consumer-insight-led advertising."
The process is on a fast track, with the client expected to select four or five finalists this week, said sources. Among the key decision makers is vice president of marketing communications Bob Kraut, who joined Pizza Hut in December 2006. As planned, the review will be completed in December.
Pizza Hut is using a New York-based consultant to manage the search: Lee Anne Morgan & Partners, an affiliate of Morgan Anderson Consulting, which is partnering with Alan Krinsky, according to sources. Morgan referred calls to the client, which confirmed the consultancy's role.
Pizza Hut, a unit of Yum! Brands, has looked outside BBDO in the past, hiring, for example, independent Wieden + Kennedy in 2002 and Omnicom's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in 1993. Each time, however, BBDO remained on the roster. The Goodby relationship lasted four years and Wieden's just four months.
Also, in 2006, Pizza Hut considered creative ideas from WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather in New York before ultimately buying a new concept from BBDO.
This story updates an earlier item with client confirmation and additional details.