TBWA/C/D Wins Star Wars Ad Assignment

TBWA/Chiat/Day has prevailed over BBDO Worldwide and Young & Rubicam for a new ad assignment to back Tricon Global Restaurants’ cross-promotional push behind the next Star Wars theatrical release, said sources.
The pitch for creative duties on the estimated $30-40 million business included only Tricon roster shops, said sources. TBWA/C/D, Playa del Rey, Calif., creates ads for Tricon’s Taco Bell chain, while BBDO and Y&R, both New York, handle ads for Pizza Hut and KFC, respectively. Y&R’s Media Edge unit in New York won a pitch earlier this year to handle the network buying portion of Tricon’s total $500 million account. BBDO is handling all overseas Star Wars promotional advertising for Pizza Hut.
Executives at the three agencies either declined comment or could not be reached. A representative for the $7 billion company in Louisville, Ky., said it was “premature to discuss” advertising plans for the new film. The upcoming Tricon promotion falls under the aegis of the $2 billion deal inked by PepsiCo with Lucasfilm Ltd. in 1996 to serve as the promotional partner for all three new Stars Wars films.
TBWA/C/D’s pitch was led by account director Pam Keehn and creative directors Chuck Bennett and Clay Williams, said sources. They will oversee the business. The agency’s ads will simultaneously feature all three fast-food chain brands for the first time, said sources. TBWA/C/D created a series of Chihuahua spots last year supporting Taco Bell’s tie-in with Sony’s Godzilla that proved to be more popular with some viewers than the film itself.
The campaign will be part of a massive promotional push by Tricon, PepsiCo and Frito-Lay. The PepsiCo units have been mulling a major ad buy on the Super Bowl to push their connection with the hotly anticipated film, said sources. Lucasfilm may also run trailers during the big game. Stars Wars: Episode I. The Phantom Menace is scheduled to open May 21.
–with Sloane Lucas
and Andrew McMain