Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Duke Marketing Wins New Business from Nation’s Largest Italian Ice Concept

Duke Marketing LLC, an integrated marketing communications firm, announced today Rita’s Franchise Company, concept owner of Rita’s Italian Ice, the nation’s largest Italian Ice concept with more than 550 locations in 18 states, has chosen Duke Marketing as an agency of record. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Duke Marketing will manage the Philadelphia headquartered Company’s communications, branding, local store marketing and public relations for the expanding restaurant chain.

In December, Falconhead Capital, LLC, a private equity firm specializing in growing consumer-focused businesses, announced the acquisition of a controlling stake in Rita's Italian Ice Franchise Company, with plans to grow the business.

“There's a lot of growth in our future," says newly appointed chief executive officer, Jonathan Fornaci. “We needed a firm to communicate our brand and having worked with Duke Marketing before, I knew they were the perfect fit for us to help us grow,” he said.

Rita's was founded in 1984 by Bob Tumolo, a former Philadelphia firefighter who, alongside his mother Elizabeth and brother John, made and sold Italian Ice from their small porch window. Today, with its brand promise, “Ice, Custard and Happiness™”, Rita’s offers a variety of frozen treats including its famous Italian Ice, Old Fashioned Frozen Custard, and layered Gelati, Light Line® treat options as well as its signature Misto® and Blendini® creations. Rita’s was named one of the Top 25 Franchise High Performers by the Wall Street Journal’s ‘Startup Journal.’ In a 2009 Zagat survey of over 6,000 fast-food fans, Rita’s was ranked #2 in the Top Ice Cream/Custard category.

“Rita’s Ice is a fantastic brand with a huge loyal following,” said Linda Duke, chief executive of Duke Marketing, LLC. “Our focus will be to gain more national awareness for the brand and assist their team with creative and business driving strategies as well as grand openings for numerous new locations. We couldn’t be more excited!”

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