Subway, IHOP chains both select new lead agencies

MILFORD, CT, and LOS ANGELES: Two major national restaurant chains have tapped PR agencies of record.

MILFORD, CT, and LOS ANGELES: Two major national restaurant chains have tapped PR agencies of record.

Subway has hired Fleishman-Hillard, dropping Schneider & Associates of Boston. Glendale, CA-based IHOP has chosen the LA office of Cohn & Wolfe after a competitive pitch that ended with the agency competing against two boutiques.

With 21,000 outlets in 74 countries, Subway wanted an agency with an international network, said Kevin Kane, PR manager.

Fleishman will be paid through Subway's franchisee advertising fund trust, the same source that pays for its advertising, Kane explained. Spending on PR is not being made public.

At IHOP, Patrick Lenow, director of PR and communications, said that five agencies were invited to pitch the business. The agencies were chosen based on industry reports, awards, and consultations with media in key markets. C&W was chosen based on its success with other hospitality and restaurant clients, as well as for the fact that "they operate with a great deal of autonomy, and they are nimble and responsive like you might see with a more boutique firm," said Lenow.

C&W is charged with helping the chain to build up its lunch and dinner business, among other projects.

"Our goal was to really refine our PR strategy and frankly take it to another level from a strategic standpoint," Lenow said, adding that another key goal was to integrate communications across disciplines, including advertising.

Subway worked with Fleishman to kick off a campaign on July 14 aimed at raising public awareness about obesity in children.

Company spokesman Jared Fogle, famed for losing weight by eating a Subway diet, will visit schools across the country to promote the pledge to live healthier lifestyles that the company is asking children and parents to sign.

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