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Papa John’s has a new creative agency that will handle major Shaq ad campaign

The Triad Business Journal reports the former basketball player, who invests in Papa John's, will appear in ads this fall
Credit: Papa John's
Pictured is one of the nine Atlanta-area Papa John's locations Shaquille O'Neal has invested in. O'Neal will be featured in a national advertising cam

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Papa John’s has named a new creative agency of record, which will be responsible for a major advertising campaign featuring former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal.

The Louisville-based pizza chain, with about three dozen locations across the Triad, appointed Camp + King as creative agency of record (AOR), according to a report by Adweek. Endeavor Global Marketing, Papa John’s most recent AOR, was hired last August after a scandal emerged involving the company’s founder and former CEO, John Schnatter.

That scandal broke after Schnatter used a racial slur during a conference call with former AOR Laundry Service. As a result, there has been a revolving door of advertising agencies utilized by the company.

Camp + King, founded in 2011, has offices in both San Francisco and Chicago.

“Our philosophy is simple: help brands be more talked about,” the agency’s website states. “Because brands that create the most conversation in their category grow faster than the competition.”

Based on previous statements, it is apparent Papa John’s officials are expecting O’Neal to lead that conversation.

"Papa John's partnership with Shaquille O'Neal is an important element of our strategy to reconnect with consumers around our truly differentiated market position," Papa John's CEO Steve Ritchie said in a quarterly earnings call last week. "Given the excitement Shaquille has created among the Papa John's team, we have no doubt that he will help drive positive sentiment among consumers as well. We are very excited to get him off the bench and into a new national advertising campaign coming up this fall."

In June, the company announced it will increase its investment in marketing and brand initiatives while also providing scheduled assistance for domestic franchisees. Papa John's will invest an additional $80 million in its brand and franchise system, beginning in the third quarter of this year and continuing through 2020, Ritchie noted in the report.

About $40 million of that investment will go toward marketing initiatives while the other half will provide relief for the company's franchise system.

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