Papa John’s International Inc., has hired Havas Media as its media agency of record, covering media strategy, planning, buying and analytics, a spokesman for the pizza delivery chain confirmed.
According to its website, Havas, which also confirmed the new relationship, specializes in creating “meaningful connections” for brands and its customers, something Papa John’s has been trying to reestablish in the aftermath of negative media attention following comments by John Schnatter, the chain’s founder, former CEO and chairman, who for years was also the face and spokesman of the Louisville, Ky.-based company.
In November, Schnatter had blamed declining sales, in part, on the National Football League’s failure to suppress its players’ silent protests, resulting in negative media attention, stumbling stock prices and, at the end of the year, Schnatter stepping aside as CEO. Subsequently, Papa John’s was replaced by Pizza Hut as the NFL’s official pizza sponsor. Next, a report by Forbes magazine in July, that Schnatter used inappropriate language in a meeting with its then-marketing agency, Laundry Service, resulted in Schnatter stepping down as chairman of the board, a move he later said he regretted. Laundry Service severed ties with Papa John’s, and Schnatter has been battling with current management, led by his handpicked successor, Steve Ritchie, ever since.
Ritchie and the chain’s board members have since been seeking to distance themselves from Schnatter, removing his image from its website and marketing materials.
In August, Papa John’s hired a new creative agency, Endeavor Global Marketing, which specializes in entertainment, sports and fashion marketing.
In September, the chain with more than 5,000 locations worldwide, launched a marketing campaign called “Voices of Papa John’s,” which features some of its 120,000 employees and emphasizing the diversity of its workforce.
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