The two-year relationship between Pizza Hut and its creative agency of record, Droga5, will end in June, Adweek confirmed today.
“Pizza Hut and Droga5 have mutually agreed to part ways,” a Droga5 spokesperson said in a statement. “We are proud of the work produced together. The companies will continue to work together through June 2018.”
A Pizza Hut spokesperson backed up Droga5’s statement in an email, adding, “We will be issuing an RFP for a new creative partner soon.”
After winning a review in May 2016, Droga5 became Pizza Hut’s fifth agency of record in only six years. The creative shop went on to produce various campaigns for the brand, including a series of deadpan spots starring Kristen Wiig and the Pie Tops (a pair of basketball shoes that can order pizza), which were tied to March Madness last year. Although Pizza Hut originally only released 64 of these limited-edition shoes, they gained so much attention that the brand brought them back for this year’s NCAA tournament.
While Droga5 was employed with Pizza Hut, the brand became the official pizza sponsor for the NCAA.
Pizza Hut spent $226.9 million on marketing efforts in the U.S. last year, down from $237.1 million in 2016, according to a Kantar Media report.
In January, Pizza Hut promoted former vice president of brand marketing and consumer insights Zipporah Allen to chief marketing officer. She succeeded former CMO David Timm, who now serves as the chief marketing capability officer for Pizza Hut parent company Yum! Brands’ “strategic marketing lab” Collider.
Allen’s first major move was making Pizza Hut the official pizza sponsor for the NFL. Papa John’s had held that designation for the prior eight years.
The leadership change also coincided with Domino’s claims that it had surpassed Pizza Hut in the U.S. and internationally for the first time to become “the largest pizza company in the world based on global retail sales.”
Over the past eight years, the Pizza Hut account has bounced around between several creative agencies. Droga5 lasted longer than most, winning the account away from Deutsch after 18 months. Domino’s, on the other hand, recently extended its decade-long contract with agency of record Crispin Porter + Bogusky until 2020.
Last June, speaking at an RBC Capital Markets conference, Yum! Brands CEO Greg Creed hinted that a rebrand might be in the works for the beleaguered Pizza Hut.
“I don’t want to say too much and give it away, but as much as KFC is Southern-inspired and Taco Bell is Mexican-inspired, we finally landed on something that is very much Pizza Hut,” Creed said.
He continued, “It’s been frustrating for me personally. I hate not having a brand at its full potential.”
Yum! is also the parent company of Taco Bell and KFC.