- Papa John's has named Camp + King as its new creative agency of record (AOR), Adweek reported.
- The Havas Worldwide-owned shop steps in for Endeavor Global Marketing (EGM), which Papa John's tapped as creative AOR only a year ago. Camp + King will help launch Papa John's fall campaign with retired basketball player Shaquille O'Neal, who owns a franchise and recently became the brand's first African-American board member.
- Tapping EGM last year came after Papa John's relationship with prior AOR Laundry Service deteriorated amid a scandal tied to the pizza chain's founder, John Schnatter. Schnatter, who was ousted as CEO, reportedly used a racial slur on a conference call last summer, plunging the already struggling chain into public controversy.
Papa John's is still hitting stumbling blocks as it tries to rehabilitate its image and gin up sales in the post-Schnatter era. The creative AOR title is traditionally a demanding responsibility for agencies, where a brand entrusts its partner to fulfill creative duties across the board, including areas like media planning and strategy.
Papa John's dropping EGM, which spearheaded the pizza chain's traditional advertising, social media, public relations and what executives described as "cultural help," after just one year suggests the shop's approach didn't gel with how the chain wants to turn things around.
Bozoma Saint John, formerly of Uber, had become EGM's CMO just weeks before it was chosen as Papa John's AOR in August last year. At the time, the executive told Adweek that the brand needed a culturally focused, "deeply moving" campaign instead of an apology tour following Schnatter's racist comments and reports of a broader toxic company culture.
Havas' Camp + King will have a lot on its plate with the new client. Papa John's in June announced it would invest an additional $80 million on marketing and financial aid for franchisees, CNBC reported. The brand spent just $15.4 million on financial assistance for franchisees in 2018.
Papa John's in recent months has focused marketing efforts on partnerships with star athletes and social media influencers, including through the alliance with O'Neill, who has taken a large public-facing role for the company.
The pizza maker has recently gone through some internal changes to marketing leadership as well. Karlin Linhardt, who previously worked at QSRs like Subway and McDonald's, was named chief marketer in March, filling a position that had been vacant for months, QSR Magazine reported.