Applebee’s Picks FCB

Foote, Cone & Belding’s office here did “Mind and Mood” consumer research to come up with the three ideas it pitched to Applebee’s International to win creative chores on its $35 million account.
The shop is expected to break a branding campaign this fall that will seek to capitalize on Applebee’s Neighborhood Bar and Grill’s positioning as a “mainstream American restaurant concept,” said FCB Worldwide president Ron Bess, who added that the “You belong at Applebee’s” tagline will be changed.
Karen Eadon, Applebee’s senior vice president of marketing, said the the positioning “will be developed much more richly” in the new campaign.
FCB replaces Wyse Advertising in Cleveland, which was ousted in a review that came down to Campbell Mithun Esty in Minneapolis and The Richards Group in Dallas. Effective Marketing Strategies in Marina del Rey, Calif., was the consultant.
The Overland Park, Kan.-based client, which initially screened 75 agencies, asked the finalists to present three creative ideas. FCB supported its creative presentation with its proprietary “Mind and Mood” method of understanding consumer feelings about a brand, Bess said. The agency’s experience in field marketing for Taco Bell also came into play, he said.
“These folks want a branding effort, not price-point advertising,” Bess said.
As expected, Applebee’s tapped Western Initiative Media Worldwide in Los Angeles to handle planning and placement.
With sales of about $2.2 billion in 1998, Applebee’s International is the 12th largest restaurant company in the country, as ranked by Technomic Information Services in Chicago.