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Chain's New Shops Get Recipe For Expansion

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Following wins, Gearon Hoffman and Boathouse prepare to carry holding co. past New England borders

With plans to boost ad spending, Papa Gino's seeks a positioning from its new agency lineup that will take the 170-restaurant chain beyond its New England base.

The Dedham, Mass.-based company said it expects to increase ad spending—which Nielsen Monitor-Plus pegs at $1 million in 2003—to $7 million this year. The money will back fall campaigns from independents Gearon Hoffman in Boston, which won the Papa Gino's pizza chain account last week, and Boathouse in Needham, Mass., which landed the D'Angelo's sandwich chain.

The wins followed a single review that included independents Connelly Partners, Boston; North Castle Partners, Stamford, Conn.; and Kupper Parker, St. Louis, the client said. Both chains had been with Boston independent Clarke Goward, which did not defend. "We needed to see who else was out there," said Michael McManama, vp of marketing at Papa Gino's Holdings.

Gearon Hoffman is handling media for both accounts.

Papa Gino's—whose sales last year rose 3 percent to $126 million, far behind category leader Pizza Hut's $5 billion, according to Technomic—has targeted mothers with young children via a freshness message. D'Angelo's—whose 2003 sales fell 2 percent to $114 million, according to Technomic—touts its made-to-order sandwiches to teens and young adults.

Papa Gino's used the tagline, "Pizza at its best," while D'Angelo's ads were tagged, "Taste the difference." Recent Papa Gino's work featured New England Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri.