New CMO Launches Papa John’s Creative Search

Pizza chain spends $120 million on media

The review of the Papa John's national creative account is starting just five weeks after Bob Kraut arrived as global chief marketing officer.

Kraut, a former marketing leader at Arby's and Pizza Hut, joined the Louisville, Ky-based Papa John's in October, filling a vacancy left by the spring departure of Andrew Varga. Kraut will be central the creative search, which NJS Consulting in Miami is helping to manage.

Papa John's spends an estimated $120 million annually in media. Its advertising has long featured the company's founder and CEO, John Schnatter.

In a statement, Schnatter said that Papa John's needed an agency to "help advance our brand to the next level through fresh thinking, brand messaging and more innovative, integrated marketing."

The incumbent, ZGroup Advertising (formerly Zimmerman Advertising) in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is not defending. ZGroup has worked on the brand since 2003.

The review comes two months after Pizza Hut shifted its creative account to the Chicago office of mcgarrybowen. That shift came after a pitch in which the other finalists were Mullen, Havas Worldwide and the incumbent, The Martin Agency. Martin had handled the account for nearly four years.

ZGroup, incidentally, also plans and buys national media for Papa John's and handles creative and media responsibilities for franchisee and co-operative advertising. Papa John's has no plans to review those pieces, according to a company representative. The search is expected to be completed in February or March.