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Fledgling ad shop O’Keefe Reinhard & Paul clinches major account with WingStreet

Just three months after we report­ed the launch of fledg­ling ad shop O’Keefe, Rein­hard & Paul (OKR&P), news is break­ing that it’s just scooped its first mam­moth-sized piece of busi­ness: it’s to be tak­en on by WingStreet, a mas­sive­ly suc­cess­ful unit of YUM! brands spe­cial­iz­ing in chick­en wings. This is the kind of deal to make the account man­ag­er and art direc­tor respon­si­ble for see­ing the project through very hap­py peo­ple: WingStreet’s deep fried chick­en wings have gone down a storm in the Piz­za Hut chain so the audi­ence is like­ly to be huge.

An account manager’s dream account

So huge, in fact, that Piz­za Hut fore­casts that WingStreet chick­en wings will short­ly morph into a ded­i­cat­ed stand-alone chain because of its pop­u­lar­i­ty on the Piz­za Hut menu. That’s like­ly to be one hel­lu­va big account for the account man­ag­er who pre­sides over it.

The Vir­ginia-based Mar­tin Agency in Rich­mond pre­vi­ous­ly held the WingStreet ad account, and it will con­tin­ue to han­dle core adver­tis­ing for Piz­za Hut. But as any per­spic­u­ous art direc­tor or account man­ag­er can tell you, YUM!’s deci­sion to bring new adver­tis­ing tal­ent into its chick­en wings chain sug­gests that the fast-food leviathan fore­sees huge poten­tial in an offer­ing that has sim­ply bur­geoned in pop­u­lar­i­ty since its launch in 2003.

OKRP’s con­nec­tion with YUM! Brands is a strong one – Tom O’Keefe worked close­ly with the firm’s Taco Bell Mex­i­can fast food chain dur­ing his two-decade at Draft­FCB, so it’s not espe­cial­ly sur­pris­ing to find that his shop has land­ed such a major account with the giant.

Wing­ing it

Back in April, the Chica­go-based startup’s co-founder and Pres­i­dent, Nick Paul, said:

“We start­ed the busi­ness with­out clients, but we were for­tu­nate. When we told peo­ple about the new agency, we had indus­try con­tacts, friends and peo­ple who we’d done busi­ness with before say­ing, ‘great! We have a project for you.’”

Prophet­ic words, it seems.

The Inter­pub­lic-backed agency is based in a vogu­ish­ly ren­o­vat­ed ware­house in Chicago’s West Loop, the erst­while home of Home­town Piz­za, in fact. Paul describes it as an “awe­some space that we can grow into.” One big, airy space holds a large writer’s table capa­ble of accom­mo­dat­ing four-to-six peo­ple, while anoth­er hous­es the shop’s graph­ic design­ers.

And it does look set to grow, as Paul fore­sees.

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