SH&S Jumps Aboard Captain D’s

A previous relationship and a well-timed call to the new marketing director of Captain D’s helped Sullivan Higdon & Sinkpick up the fast-food chain’s advertising account.

The Kansas City, Mo., shop won the $12 million account after a review that included Fahlgren in Dublin, Ohio, Fricks/Firestone in Atlanta and The Buntin Group in Nashville, Tenn.

Incumbent Fogarty Klein Monroe did not participate in the review. The Houston shop had handled the restaurant’s business since 1997.

“We sat down, evaluated the situation and decided the prudent thing for us was to step aside,” said FKM principal Bill Fogarty.

SH&S worked its way into the review thanks to a previous relationship with Captain D’s head of marketing, Charles Bruce, who joined the company in January.

Bruce was familiar with the shop from his time as vice president of marketing for the Pizza Hut Franchiser Holders Association. SH&S was Pizza Hut’s print agency in the early 1990s, Bruce said. SH&S executives called at the same time Bruce was launching the agency review for Captain D’s.

“It was completely by coincidence,” Bruce said. “I got reacquainted with the agency.”

The shop’s assignment will in-clude creative, collateral and media duties for the seafood restaurant, which operates approximately 600 locations in 23 states, primarily in the Southeast.

“They’re looking for an agency to differentiate their brand in the category,” said Lynell Stucky, managing partner at SH&S. “We think it’s an exciting opportunity for us.”

The agency’s first television work, scheduled to be ready in time for a franchisee convention in November, will break early next year, Bruce said. The company plans to spend $12 million on advertising in the coming year, he said.

“We’re going to relaunch this brand and re-energize the Captain D’s system,” Bruce said.

At that size, the account will be one of the shop’s three largest pieces of business. Stucky said the agency is ready for the challenge.

“It takes a certain kind of passion to work in the food-service industry,” he said. “We’ve got a group of people who thrive on that fast pace.”

Captain D’s measured advertising expenditures have been just under $5 million for the past two years, according to CMR.