Domino's begins hunt for advertising agency

Domino's Pizza is on the hunt for a new advertising agency as it looks to change its creative strategy.

The decision to review follows the opening of 50 new restaurants in the UK last year and the appointment of the former Red Cell strategic planner, Roger Auld, to the new post of brand controller.

Domino's advertising was previously handled on a project basis by Arkwright, the London-based agency set up by the ex-HHCL & Partners creative pair Chas Bayfield and Jim Bolton.

However, Arkwright parted company with Domino's in November when Bolton was rehired by HHCL/Red Cell. Bolton worked at HHCL for seven years before leaving in 2000 to launch the start-up.

The bulk of Domino's estimated £7 million budget is allocated to its high-profile sponsorship of Sky 1's The Simpsons, now into its fourth year. It spends £1 million on other advertising projects.

The budget is raised in the UK by Domino's outlets, each of which invests 4 per cent of sales into an advertising budget. "The opening of 50 stores in the UK has significantly boosted the above-the-line budget," Auld said.

Domino's could not confirm whether The Simpsons sponsorship deal would continue, because it is in a closed period ahead of its interim results.

BLM handles the Domino's media planning and buying account. The agency's creative services division, Flint, headed by Jane Maskell, is advising Auld on which agencies to speak to.

Domino's last TV advertising campaign aimed to build on the company's position of a reliable service with the line: "Relax, it's Domino's."

Auld said the new advertising strategy would be looking to build on the "huge awareness" the brand has inside and outside its target audience and to communicate the "freshness and quality" of the product.

He confirmed that he was already in the early stages of discussions with agencies, but added that the company was looking at a below-the-line agency at this stage.