Pizza Hut to Meet With Shops

NEW YORK Pizza Hut next month will hear presentations from at least three agencies as it seeks fresh creative concepts, sources said.

Publicis Groupe’s The Kaplan Thaler Group and WPP Group’s Ogilvy & Mather, both in New York, were said to be preparing to meet with the client in October to discuss ideas, as was Yum! Brands roster shop DraftFCB in Chicago, owned by Interpublic Group [Adweek Online, Sept. 28].

A representative at DraftFCB, however, said today, “We are not pitching or presenting to Pizza Hut.” Sources said the account could be a conflict with Kraft’s DiGiorno frozen pizza account. A Kraft executive did not return calls seeking comment.

DraftFCB already handles Taco Bell and KFC, both owned by Yum!, which owns Pizza Hut. Ogilvy handles the KFC brand in some overseas markets.

At least one other undisclosed shop is also getting set to meet with the client, sources said.

Billings on the Dallas-based fast-food chain’s U.S. account are about $250 million.

Pizza Hut has worked with Omnicom Group’s BBDO in New York since 1987, but same-store sales have declined for seven straight quarters, and in March the client promoted Bill Ogle from vp of development to CMO, replacing Tom James, who left the company. According to a company report, Pizza Hut’s last same-store sales rise was 2 percent in September 2005.

A client representative declined to comment, as did BBDO in New York.

During its 19-year relationship with Pizza Hut, BBDO has had to share the roster at times with different agencies. The first instance was in 1993, when Pizza Hut added Omnicom’s Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco to handle children’s marketing after a review. That relationship lasted until 1997.

In 2002, Pizza Hut held a review in order to add an “ancillary” agency to its roster. Independent Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore., won that review against Cliff Freeman and Partners, WPP Group’s Ogilvy & Mather and Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi & Saatchi. The relationship lasted less than a year.

Since February 2005, Wieden in London has handled the Pizza Hut account for the U.K., having won it after a review from AMV BBDO.

Pizza Hut spent $160 million in U.S. media from January through June of this year and $265 million in 2005, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

WPP Group’s Mediaedge:cia handles media for all Yum! brands.

This story updates and replaces an item posted yesterday with DraftFCB’s statement.