Grey Jettisons 2.2% of Employees at NYC Headquarters After Losing Papa John’s Account

Papa John’s layoff

Grey Advertising’s New York branch has kicked off 2018 with a round of layoffs. The advertising company announced it is laying off approximately 2.2% of the staff at its Manhattan headquarters. The company employs more than 1,000 people; this implies a total workforce reduction in Manhattan of around 25 people.

An agency representative said, “While it’s always unfortunate, the rebalancing of staff is based on client budgets for this year, the loss of some revenue from last year, and the skill sets we’ll need moving forward.”

That lost revenue came in part from Papa John’s Int’l, Inc. (NASDAQ:PZZA), which left Grey and took its business to Laundry Service in 2017. That year, Papa John’s media budget was around $150.0 million. Beyond the Papa John’s account team, Grey has not said which departments were affected.

In 2017, Papa John’s launched a creative agency review–its first since 2014, when Grey took the business away from Zimmerman Advertising. The company gave 10 advertising agencies an opportunity to pitch their ideas, ultimately bringing in eight agencies, including Grey New York.


Papa John’s CMO Brandon Rhoten said he wanted to start a new creative vision for the pizza chain. Emphasizing the need to go beyond “traditional’ creative. In the end, the account when to Laundry Service.

Papa John’s CMO Brandon Rhoten explained that 60% of Papa John’s orders originate online, noting it is “more ecommerce” than traditional quick service or sit down chains. It’s marking then needs to embrace its on-the-go audience and influence its behavior. 



Grey Lays Off 2.2 Percent of Staff at Its New York Headquarters Following Papa John’s Loss,” Adweek, January 8, 2018.

Papa John’s Announces Its New Creative Agency of Record With Some Tweets and a Pizza Delivery,” Adweek, October 31, 2017.


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