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Grey Wins Papa Murphy's Pizza

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Moving away from its reputation as a business-to-business agency, Grey here has won the $15-20 million Papa Murphy's Take 'n' Bake Pizza account, a plum win in a market still reeling from technology losses.

Grey won the account after a review that included West Coast and national shops, according to the client. The other contenders could not be determined.

Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Papa Murphy's operates 650 franchised and company-owned units in 35 markets in the West. The 6-year-old company sells custom-made uncooked pizzas, and boasted sales of more than $300 million last year. It is said to be the first take-out chain to succeed with a bake-at-home concept.

Creative and media duties had been split between Mering & Associates in Sacramento, Calif., and Woodson & Neuroth in Beaverton, Ore. Last year the chain was using the tagline "Big pizza. Big taste. Low price."

"We spoke at great length with several agencies, but Grey's creative approach made them the perfect choice," said Terry Collins, the client's CEO. "The upcoming campaign will effectively drive our expansion goals."

That expansion calls for 100 new stores by the end of the year, a goal Grey will chase with a branding campaign, including TV spots that will break in September.

Agency president and COO Kieran Hannon said Grey is excited to work with a client he called a category leader.

"Last year, Papa Murphy's capitalized on its unique product to surpass well over a quarter of a billion dollars in sales," Hannon said. Grey, he said, "looks forward to enhancing [the client's] strong brand and introducing it to new markets."

Although Grey's San Francisco office has no fast-food experience, the client was apparently wooed in part by its work for 24 Hour Fitness, a well-known health-club chain located primarily in California. Cindy Crawford and Magic Johnson are perennial subjects of that campaign.

Alan Randolph, evp and creative director at Grey, said the win caps a year that saw the shop bolster its creative reel, in part by taking pro-bono accounts.

"We deliver projects that reflect the individual characteristics of each client, whether they be high-tech or no-tech," he said. "Landing the Papa Murphy's account validates Grey's strength in conceiving and executing creative for the retail sector."

Papa Murphy's operates stores in 10 states overall, from California to Alaska and as far east as Colorado.