Papa John's International has awarded its nearly $30 million media buying account to Carat ICG here, following a review.
Media buying duties were formerly handled by Fricks/Firestone. The Atlanta shop was handed both the creative and media duties in a 1997 agency consolidation. It remains lead creative agency.
Carat begins its network buying for Papa John's in January 2000.
"We felt it was good to work with someone who just specializes in media," said Ellen Hamilton, director of field marketing at the Louisville, Ky.-based pizza chain. "It makes sense from a logistical standpoint."
Finalists in the review included Empower MediaMarketing in Cincinnati and DeWitt Media in New York. CIA CPM Media in Chicago and another undisclosed shop exited in an earlier round.
The Papa John's win comes at a potentially propitious time for Carat, in the same week that the takeover of its client Ameritech by SBC Communications got final government approval. Several sources have speculated that SBC will place its ad business at one of its own lead shops, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco, or GSD&M in Austin, Texas. The $100 million account is Carat's largest in Chicago.
While declining comment on Ameritech, Susan Rowe, Carat's managing director, said, "The timing couldn't have been better from our perspective."
Papa John's, the nation's No. 4 pizza franchisor, spent $28.6 million in 1998 and $16.3 million on advertising in the first six months of 1999.
Papa John's last month launched a new TV campaign from Fricks/Firestone emphasizing the "Better ingredients, better pizza" slogan. The agency won the business in 1997 from Halbleib/Beggs of Louisville, Ky., and The Richards Group in Dallas.