Chuck E. Cheese's is looking for a new creative agency to revive the fortunes of the faded pizza arcade brand, sources said.
The Irving, Texas chain spent $28 million on media spending in 2014, according to Kantar Media. Most recent reports have the account handled by The Richards Group, Dallas, but reps there haven't responded to an inquiry.
In January Chuck E. Cheese's brought in a new chief marketing officer, Michael Hartman, who was previously senior marketing officer at SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment.
When reached by Adweek, Hartman declined to comment on the agency review.
In addition to Richards, the brand has also worked with several agencies in the past, including Zambrelli for TV advertising, M/C/C for social media marketing and Apollo Interactive for website development.
Founded in 1977 by Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell, Chuck E. Cheese's was the first family restaurant to integrate food with entertainment and arcade games. (It has continued to use its namesake animatronic mouse mascot as a fixture in ads.) In recent years, the chain has also had the dubious distinction in the media for curious outbreaks of violence at its stores, including an incident last in month in Ohio where patrons beat employees.
While Chuck E. Cheese's has done little to change with the times, it nonetheless has strong millennial brand awareness and had grown to 577 outlets as of March, 2014.
Chuck E. Cheese's is owned by CEC Entertainment, which was bought by an affiliate of turnaround investors Apollo Global Management last year, for about $950 million.
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