IHOP Hires Search Consultant

LOS ANGELES — IHOP Corp. has decided to launch a review for its creative advertising account and has hired a search consultant to handle the process, the company confirmed today.

Atlanta-based consultant Gregg Nettleton from ebrainsinc is leading the process, said IHOP representative Patrick Lenow.

The Glendale, Calif. client is contacting an undisclosed number of full-service agencies in the closed review for its $30 million account, Lenow said. There are no geographical or size limitations. A timetable for the review could not be determined.

Last week, the client split with Heil-Brice Retail Advertising in Newport Beach, Calif. The shop had handled the account since January 2000. Sources attributed the move to the client’s efforts to renegotiate financial terms on creative fees [Adweek, April 22].

“We have a great brand with an incredible history,” Lenow said. “We need to find someone who understands that history and heritage and can elevate the brand to the next level.

The review comes on the heels of company president and COO Julia Stewart’s promotion to CEO. She succeeds Richard Herzer, who remains chairman.

In addition to Stewart and Nettleton, decision-makers include company vice president of marketing Susan Hernandez, director of brand marketing Craig Silver, who was formerly management supervisor at Duncan & Associates in Santa Monica, Calif., and franchisees, Lenow said.

The search does not affect the client’s media accounts. Six agencies currently work on that business, with the largest portion handled by Horizon Media in Los Angeles, Lenow said.