Phelps Group, a Santa Monica PR and ad agency, landed a client thanks to an acquisition last year.

The client, zPizza in Irvine, is a chain of franchised fast-food restaurants that sell gourmet and organic pizzas for health-conscious eaters. The company was looking for an agency to reposition its brand, and Phelps’ purchase in December 2009 of Copia Creative, a boutique specializing in rebranding campaigns, sealed the deal.

Michelle Adelson, vice president of creative and brand strategy at Phelps, said the firm already handles local PR for Panera Bread, an upscale food brand similar to zPizza, but Copia brought along crucial repositioning expertise.

Previous zPizza advertising relied on coupons and direct mail, tactics that appealed to price-conscious consumers. The new Phelps strategy will focus instead on reaching the health-conscious.

The campaign, “Pure Pizza Revolution,” will launch before the end of December. Phelps will redesign the menu, product packaging, store interiors, promotional materials and website. New uniforms will feature red berets and aprons.

The campaign will include teams handing out promotional offers on streets and in malls, as well as social media and traditional PR. It will not involve paid advertising.

“We have a proven brand-strategy approach where we look at research on how we can differentiate our brand from the competition,” Adelson said. “The studies point to an increased trend toward healthy eating. ZPizza has a great story to tell, but not everyone has heard it yet.”

ZPizza has 90 franchised locations in the U.S., with about 40 in Southern California.

Triple Threat

In a bid to cross-sell their businesses, three boutique PR agencies in Hollywood have combined to form a partnership.

Evolutionary Media Group, Period Media and Platform Media Group will each retain their current names, but will form a group called the Communications Partnership.

Although each agency has a different expertise and client base, the companies anticipate working together for the same clients in the future. For example, Platform and Evolutionary jointly promoted a fundraising dinner for the Datsun Heritage Museum last month.

“We all have extensive automotive experience we can share when one division signs an auto project,” said Jennifer Gross, a principal at Evolutionary, in a statement.

For now, there’s little overlap in term of clientele among the partners. Evolutionary focuses on entertainment-related PR for hospitality, music, non-profit and art clients, including the Annenberg Foundation and artist Shepard Fairey. Platform concentrates on food, beverage, movies and media campaigns for clients that include Blue Angel Spirits, Koloa Rum, American Film Institute and Neoclassics Films. Period is a PR firm specializing in fashion and entertainment. Clients include Pacific Design Center, actor Ray Liotta and fashion designer David Meister.

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