Domino’s Sends Creative To WorkInProgress, Ending 13-Year Relationship With CPB

The independent agency begins its three-year partnership with the chain next year

Domino's has chosen an independent agency to handle its creative duties moving forward. Domino's

Domino’s has selected WorkInProgress as its agency of record in a move that brings an end to its 13-year relationship with MDC Partners’ CPB and repudiates the holding company model.

It’s perhaps not much of a surprise considering the founders of WorkInProgress, which opened its doors in 2016, previously worked on the Domino’s account at CPB. Both agencies are based in Boulder, Colorado.

According to Domino’s, WorkInProgress will handle creative execution, brand strategy and digital design starting in January. The contract lasts for three years. WPP’s Mindshare will continue to handle media planning. It is not clear who controls media buying.

“WorkInProgress is filled with strong talent, creative minds and extensive experience in creating meaningful brand actions,” Art D’Elia, who became Domino’s chief marketing officer in July, said in a statement. “The fact that they are an independent agency means they have the flexibility and nimbleness we need during these quickly changing times. This is the right agency model and team for Domino’s moving forward.”

The pizza chain selected CPB as its lead creative agency of record in 2007 following an “extensive search” that involved 50 agencies, the company said at the time. Matt Talbot, chief creative officer of WorkInProgress, joined CPB shortly after it won the Domino’s account. He and five other former CPB employees started WorkInProgress four years ago.

Domino US president and chief operating officer Russell Weiner served as the company’s chief marketing officer from 2008-2014. He presumably worked with members of WorkInProgress during this period. 

“We are grateful and humbled by the opportunity to partner with Domino’s,” Talbot said in a statement. “WorkInProgress is a small business, like the hundreds of Domino’s franchises across the country. And ultimately, the work we do is in service of them. We take that responsibility very seriously and can’t wait to tackle the future supporting a brand that believes in taking bold action.”

The chain’s decision brings an end to one of the industry’s longest-running and successful agency-brand relationships. Over the years, CPB has been credited with helping reverse a sales slump at Domino’s, ultimately helping it unseat Pizza Hut as the largest pizza chain in the world in 2018.

One of the agency’s first major campaigns for Domino’s, “Pizza Turnaround,” involved introducing a new recipe to people by admitting that the chain’s old version wasn’t any good.

CPB has also helped the chain up its digital chops. In 2015, the agency rolled out “emoji ordering” for Domino’s, which lets place an order via Twitter by simply tweeting a pizza emoji at the brand. The following year, it took things a step further with “zero click” ordering on the brand’s app. According to Domino’s, it generated more than 65% of sales through digital channels last year.

More recently, the agency created “Paving for Pizza,” a campaign that involved fixing potholes across the U.S. The brand claims it’s paved 50 roads in 50 states, resulting in “countless pizzas saved.”

In April, CPB created an ad for Domino’s that let viewers know the chain was hiring, a timely message considering many people were out of work due to shutdowns spurred by Covid-19.

“We are immensely proud of the nearly 13 years of phenomenal work and results we have delivered alongside our valued Domino’s colleagues,” CPB global CEO Erik Sollenberg said in a statement. “Now, amidst a global pandemic, this has been our best year together yet, with continued innovation and unprecedented results, making it a truly extraordinary culmination of our successful partnership. We will forever be Domino’s fans and customers, and we will celebrate their continued success long into the future.”

@Minda_Smiley Minda Smiley is an agencies reporter at Adweek.
@ErikDOster Erik Oster is an agencies reporter for Adweek.