Arby’s Eyes 4 for Creative

Four shops have emerged as finalists in Arby’s review of creative chores on its ad account.

They are: Omnicom’s BBDO of New York; Sausalito, Calif.-based independent Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners; Havas’ Euro RSCG in Chicago; and WPP’s Young & Rubicam,
New York.

“These four agencies were chosen as finalists based on their creativity, QSR experience and record of developing brands with distinct personality and attitude,” said Bob Kraut, client svp of advertising and marketing communications.

The review, which began in August, is set to conclude before year’s end, and the company has said the process is part of a broader brand “turnaround plan.”

The incumbent, Omnicom’s Merkley + Partners in New York, is not defending. Merkley has handled the account since 2004.

Arby’s spent $128 million in major measured media last year, down from $140 million-plus in ’08, per Nielsen. Ad spending in the first half of 2010 was slightly more than $50 million.

EBJ International Consultants in Dallas is overseeing the process.

Wendy’s/Arby’s, the parent firm, last month reported a 4 percent second-quarter revenue slide to $877 million compared to the same period a year ago. Most of the blame was placed on the poor performance of Arby’s, where revenue fell $28 million vs. Q2 ’09.

The review process should finish up by year’s end. Media chores, with IPG’s Initiative, are not in play.

The restaurant category has been especially active of late, with Darden just yesterday launching a media search for its $300 million U.S. account. Several other chains large and small have also shifted agencies and/or launched major campaigns since 2010 began. Some notable moves include Red Lobster hiring WPP’s Grey and Denny’s selecting IPG’s Gotham after separate reviews of creative chores this summer.

See also:
“Arby’s Adjusts Media Recipe”