LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY — Papa John’s Pizza, which in 2017 took major hits to its reputation and revenue, has selected Olson Engage as its new PR agency of record, ending a four-year relationship with Edelman, the Holmes Report has learned.

Senior director of public relations Peter Collins confirmed that the company, one of the country’s largest pizza chains, opted to partner with Olson after a competitive review. 

From the outset, Collins pointed to the specific importance of finding an agency that can further elevate the Papa John’s brand as it becomes increasingly e-commerce based, while also bolstering and protecting its reputation.

According to Collins, the pizza chain’s selection of a new PR AOR is part of a larger series of changes being ushered in by global chief marketing officer Brandon Rhoten, who joined Papa John’s in May from Wendy’s, where he was VP for advertising, media and digital/social. In October, the company announced that it selected Laundry Service to be its creative agency of record, ending the relationship in place with Grey since 2014.

But Papa John's also is switching up its PR partnership on the heels of major management changes and reputation challenges resulting from a wave of bad press in November after founder and then-CEO John Schnatter blamed the NFL, and its handling of players’ national anthem protests, for lagging sales. Schnatter ultimately stepped down as CEO, replaced by former COO Steve Richie on January 1.