California Pizza Kitchen (CPK), the casual dining chain that claims to have invented California-style pizza, at least for franchising opportunities, has tapped fledgling conversion-focused Acadia as its media agency of record.
While billings were not disclosed, the win is the highest profile on yet for the agency, which was founded two years ago with a media strategy and execution model favoring performance, or what founder Jared Belsky describes as "conversion rate optimization."
The move also represents a shift in media strategy for Costa Mesa, California-based CPK, which previously had its media serviced by New York-based Noble People.
CPK, which has been growing steadily post a pandemic restructuring, competes in a category of quick-serve and casual dining chains that outspend it by wide margins. Acadia's solution: outflank them with hyper-local, hyper-tailored advertising and media execution strategies.
"We’re emphasizing ways to motivate known customers to consider CPK more often” explains CPK CMO Scott Hargrove, adding, “We can compete more effectively with precise, measurable, local media that inspires guests to come and try us one more time."
The new media strategy follows a retooling of CPK's commerce offering, which like other dining chains, includes more digital ordering and delivery services, as well as a focus on loyalty programs ("CPK Rewards") that are well-suited for conversion optimization media.
As a result, the win may be the biggest affirmation of Belsky's pitch to date, which includes leveraging the chain's first-party data to inform "precise radius" media targeting strategies measured against both on- and off-premise dining campaign goals.
The 180-location chain "faces a classic middle-market challenge, growing in a large crowded market with much larger competitors,” Belsky explains, adding that a "data-centric" approach is the only way to compete with rivals with ten times its market presence.