AKA on Hot Seat With Papa John’s

Less than six months ago, Austin Kelley Advertising won Papa John’s $40-45 million creative account. Now, the agency could lose the business as its contract with the chain winds down.

The Interpublic Group shop’s six-month contract with the Louisville, Ky., company expires March 31, and Maryann Palmer, Papa John’s svp and chief resource officer, said the client has not yet decided if it will renew.

In addition, in February Papa John’s overlooked its agency and instead tapped Omnicom Group’s Zimmerman & Partners for its most recent national assignment.

The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., agency, which has done regional work for Papa John’s since 1997, will create at least one national TV spot to promote the company’s 19th year in business, sources said.

Palmer said Zimmerman was recommended for the national project by a South Florida franchisee who has worked with the agency. She declined to say if the relationship will extend beyond that.

AKA won the account in August, following a review. Zimmerman did not participate in that search.

“When you’ve been dating someone for as long as we’ve been dating Papa John’s, you really hope that it will lead to a great marriage,” said Jim Spruell, evp, chief creative officer of AKA in Atlanta. “But it appears that they’re going to continue to see other people.”