• Domino's drops Deutsche, picks J. Walter Thompson as agency of record

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Domino's Pizza has consolidated its advertising agency relationships from four to two by making J. Walter Thompson its agency of record, and keeping Marti Flores as its Hispanic-specific advertising agency.

The move shuts out Deutsch Inc., with which the number-two pizza company has worked since 1999, and Don Coleman & Associates, which handled the chain's African-American specific ads.

The value of Domino's account is estimated at $110 million.

Notable among the campaigns developed by Deutsche were the Italian Originals line of pizzas, as well as the "Bad Andy, Good Pizza" TV spots. Most recently it launched the "Get the Door, It's Domino's" campaign, which, according to Tim McIntyre, vice president of communications for the pizza company, will be taken over by Thompson and extended with new ads to begin running March 4.

McIntyre said consolidation of Domino's ad services will strengthen the Domino's brand and improve its consistency across all advertising media. He also said it will simplify Domino's corporate efforts by allowing its marketing team to work with two fewer agencies.

"(W)e're a very disparate organization with 1,400 franchisees in the U.S. alone, and in order to operate as one brand, we have to have one consistent message out there," said McIntyre, who also hinted at what to expect in future ads. "What you see on television will be very similar to what you get in the mail box and what you see on our box tops. It will be very clear that you're receiving something from a brand as opposed to a local business."

Serving as a consultant to Thompson will be Greg Walker, who will advise Domino's on multicultural marketing initiatives. Walker, said McIntyre, has a solid record of developing marketing campaigns that cross multicultural barriers smoothly.

"That's what we're trying to reflect in our advertising, that though this is a diverse multicultural country, our marketing will be unified, not segmented," McIntyre said.

While McIntyre declined to comment on whether Domino's was dissatisfied with Deutsche's work, the short-lived and often-criticized "Bad Andy" campaign has been fingered by media critics as a key source of tension between the two companies.

On Jan. 22, the day of the announced change, AdWeek magazine's Web site quoted Deutsch CEO, Donny Deutsch, saying his company was "blindsided" by Domino's decision. "Their business for last year went through the roof. The work is incredibly well received," Deutsch said.

McIntyre agreed that business was up at Domino's last year, but said the company's solid performance can't be attributed to advertising alone since it's only one piece of the strategic puzzle.

"Marketing in our business is designed to get the phones to ring," said McIntyre. "After that, it's about the service you provide to customers, the products make and how you deliver them. Those things all add up to a successful business and a successful year."

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