Papa John's Puts Media, Creative Accounts In Review

Pizza chain Papa John’s International confirmed today that it is conducting a review of its national creative and media agencies.   

The company spent nearly $250 million on measured media in 2022 according to agency research firm COMvergence.  

The agency search will officially begin this month and will include select, invited agencies to participate in the process. Pile and Company has been retained to handle the review.  



The company appointed Havas Media for media duties in 2018 and Camp + King for creative chores in 2019.   

Internally, Chief Marketing Officer Mark Shambura will lead the review process. Shambura joined the company in May. He was previously CMO at MOD Pizza.  

The review is invitation only and the company said it was looking for agencies to “accelerate Papa Johns refreshed, customer-centric, analytics-led approach to marketing, and consolidate and optimize partners moving forward.” Responding to a query, a company spokesman declined to comment about whether incumbents would be invited to defend. “We are inviting a select number of agencies to participate in the process but are not sharing details on current agency partners at this time.  We’ll be sharing an update on agencies participating and can note which ones are incumbent then.”  

The firm also stated that it is “prioritizing potential partners in media and creative that can continue to help establish the superiority of our pizzas and share common brand values, including a targeted focus on diversity, equity and inclusion.” In 2018 company founder and then chairman John Schnatter stepped down after apologizing for using a racial slur about African Americans during a conference call.   

“We express gratitude to our current agency teams for their partnership and the impactful work we have produced together in the past five years,” stated Shambura. “As we look beyond a post-COVID world both Papa Johns and the landscape we operate in have shifted significantly. Papa Johns has evolved as a company, and it’s crucial that our marketing continues to innovate to meet the needs of the company as well as our changing consumer habits. We are taking the opportunity to reassess our partnerships and embrace new perspectives and expertise that will set us up for the next three-to-five-years. We are looking for partners who will develop breakthrough strategy and creative work, are collaborative with each other, bring a multicultural perspective, and are representative of the communities we speak to.”  

The company hopes to have the review completed before the end of the year.

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