Pizza chain Papa John’s has turned to another ad agency to help the company move through its ongoing identity crisis.
The brand chose Endeavor Global Marketing, the creative division of the Endeavor “holding group” formed by Ari Emanuel’s media conglomerate WME | IMG late last year. That group also includes both WME and IMG along with such disparate entities as UFC, The Miss Universe Organization and Droga5 (in which it holds a minority stake).
Bozoma Saint John, who joined the umbrella organization as CMO earlier this summer after a year at Uber and officially started work this week, led the final pitch along with EGM president Ed Horne, evp Seth Matlins and executive creative director Ryan Wagman. The review launched less than one month ago, with EGM beating out two other unnamed agencies.
WME co-president and former ESPN executive Mark Shapiro has been a member of Papa John’s board of directors since 2011.
The company’s search for an AOR started after Adweek reported on a round of layoffs at Laundry Service, which won the account late last year. The following day, Forbes reported that company founder and chairman John Schnatter had used the N-word on a May media training call that also included unnamed agency employees. Schnatter later acknowledged using the word, but claimed it was taken out of context.
Forbes then published a longer story regarding the company’s “toxic culture” as Schnatter accused Laundry Service of “pressuring” him to use the word and later attempting to “extort” Papa John’s for $6 million. An internal memo from Laundry Service described those claims as “completely false.“