Inspire Brands gets bespoke media strategy unit within Publicis Group

Dive Brief:

  • Inspire Brands this week named Publicis Groupe as its media agency of record, supporting the restaurant company’s national media planning and buying for Arby’s, Baskin-Robbins, Buffalo Wild Wings, Dunkin’, Jimmy John’s and Sonic Drive-In. Publicis agencies Zenith and Digitas will lead a newly created unit called Inspired Media Engine to oversee the account, per an announcement.
  • The restaurant company spends about $600 million a year on media, according to COMvergence data cited by Ad Age. Inspire Brands’ commercial services team will work with the Inspire Media Engine on digital-first, data-driven strategies to boost consumer engagement and drive traffic to the company’s more than 22,000 U.S. restaurants, per its announcement.
  • Publicis’ Inspire Media Engine also will provide local media planning and buying for Dunkin’, Jimmy John’s and Sonic. The remit doesn’t include national paid search or social media, which are managed in-house or handled by another outside agency that was unaffected by the review.

Dive Insight:

Inspire Brands’ appointment of Publicis Groupe as its media agency of record comes almost two months after the restaurant company completed its $11.3 billion purchase of Dunkin’ Brands Group, one of the biggest acquisitions in the restaurant industry. The combination with Dunkin’ will give Inspire greater spending power and negotiating strength in its media buys as its various restaurant brands seek to drive sales growth. The pandemic has upended much of the restaurant industry, though many chains have shown signs of a quicker recovery with their drive-thru service and pivot toward online ordering and delivery, areas of strength for several of Inspire’s brands, like Dunkin’, Sonic and Jimmy John’s.

The agency review started before the Dunkin’ acquisition was announced in late October. Inspire in August hired agency search firm Jones Lundin Beals + Partners to lead the review of its national media agencies. At that time, Inspire said it was seeking a media agency to handle all of its brands and focus on custom targeting, digital business and customer relationship management efforts. Inspire’s target audience of young adults are more likely to be heavy consumers of digital media, making those platforms a bigger priority for the future.

“While each of our brands has its own distinct positioning and identity, Inspire’s shared services approach to media enables us to leverage our collective resources to benefit the entire portfolio,” Navin Sharma, chief commercial services officer of Inspire, said in a statement.

Before the review, Publicis’ Zenith unit had managed media for Arby’s and Sonic. Digitas, which also is owned by Publicis, oversaw the Dunkin’ media account. WPP’s Mindshare handled Buffalo Wild Wings, while Haworth Marketing + Media oversaw Jimmy John’s.

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