Papa John's takes PR efforts in-house

LOUISVILLE, KY: Papa John's has brought its global PR efforts in-house after partnering with FleishmanHillard for more than eight years.

LOUISVILLE, KY: Papa John's has brought its global PR efforts in-house after partnering with FleishmanHillard for more than eight years.

The pizza company reorganized its communications function in February, deciding to handle its PR internally at that time, said Steve Higdon, VP of global communications at Papa John's.

“We've been managing it in-house ever since, and we're evaluating how we will choose to go forward on a long-term basis,” he said.

Higdon added that the decision is not necessarily permanent and that the company is assessing the best way to manage communications globally.

“Our work for Papa John's came to an end in February,” Fleishman said in a statement. “Our eight-and-a-half-year partnership was marked by many business successes and milestones.”

At the beginning of the year, Higdon was promoted from senior director of partnership marketing at the company to VP of global communications.

In early 2013, Papa John's worked with Sitrick and Company to ask bloggers to correct or remove posts about CEO John Schnatter's widely criticized remarks that pizza prices would rise because of the Affordable Care Act.

The company reported a 7.3% increase in first-quarter revenue, year-over-year, to $355.6 million. It earned net income of $19.3 million in the period.

In 2007, Fleishman was a finalist in the PRWeek Awards Consumer Launch Campaign of the Year category for its Papa John's Challenges Armchair Quarterbacks to "GO DEEP" initiative. Fleishman also won a Gold Lion at the 2010 Cannes International Advertising Festival for its work with Papa John's.

Papa John's is continuing to work with Z Group on advertising. Higdon said the company has partnered with the agency for more than 12 years.

The pizza chain has nearly 4,200 restaurants in 34 countries and all 50 states in the US.

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