Yum! Brands Canada Sends $50 Million Media Account to WPP’s Wavemaker

The agency will handle media duties across KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell

Yum! Brands Canada has seen several years of steady growth. Yum! Brands, Taco Bell

Yum! Brands, the fast food giant comprised of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, has selected WPP’s Wavemaker as its media agency of record in Canada, following a review which included incumbent Mediacom.

Wavemaker will be responsible for digital, programmatic, search, social, television, radio and out-of-home media planning and buying across all three brands. Grip Limited continues to serve as creative agency for Yum! Brands Canada, while Edeleman provides communications services. WPP founded Wavemaker through the merger of its MEC and Maxus agencies last September.

“KFC and Wavemaker meshed culturally and strategically from day one of the RFP process,” KFC Canada CMO Samantha Redman said in a statement. “Their approach to technology and data, the way they challenged us and inspired us, affirmed they are the right partner to help us through the next phase of our digital transformation.”

“Partnering with a cutting-edge media agency like Wavemaker will be instrumental to continuing our growth in Canada,” added Taco Bell head of marketing Veronica Castillo. “Staying one step ahead of Gen Z and Millennials with social and digital strategies allows us to break through the clutter in disruptive and unexpected ways. Wavemaker demonstrated the smarts and acumen to drive the Taco Bell brand forward, and we’re very excited to begin working with them.”

The appointment follows several years of steady growth for Yum! Brands Canada, accompanying a shift into digital media such as e-commerce and loyalty programs such as “Hut Rewards.”

“Right from our initial meeting, we were impressed with Wavemaker’s perspective on the QSR [quick-service restaurant] category, their thought leadership and digital capabilities,” Pizza Hut Canada marketing director Jason Cassidy said in a statement. “The chemistry was instant, and we’re thrilled to have them at the table as a valued partner.”

“We are incredibly pleased by this appointment,” added Wavemaker Canada CEO Ann Stewart. “We’ve thoroughly enjoyed meeting the Yum! Brands Canada team as their culture and business approach are very similar to ours. Wavemaker Canada is ready to address all three brands’ business objectives and surpass their success criteria.”

Yum! Brands spent about $50 million on measured media in Canada last year, according to international consultancy R3. In the U.S., where it also owns WingStreet, Yum! Brands spent a little over $896 million on measured media last year, and around $273 million in the first quarter of 2018, according to Kantar Media.

@ErikDOster erik.oster@adweek.com Erik Oster is an agencies reporter for Adweek.