Bloomin’ Brands Reviews Its Media Business

Marketer spent $150 million in media last year

Bloomin' Brands, the parent company of Outback Steakhouse, is reviewing its media planning and buying business.

The assignment also includes other casual-dining brands in the Bloomin' portfolio, including Bonefish Grill, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Roy’s. Collectively, those brands spent about $150 million in media last year, according to Kantar Media.

The incumbent, Carat, is defending. When the Dentsu Aegis agency won the account in 2007, the other finalists were WPP Group’s Mindshare and independent Horizon Media.

A list has already been drawn up and Bloomin' executives will meet with prospective agencies this week, according to sources. Based on those meetings, the company will narrow the field to a handful of finalists. Joanne Davis Consulting in New York is managing the search.

Davis declined to comment. Sources expect the process to conclude in December.

The review follows the appointment of former Burger King marketing executive Michael Kappitt as chief marketing officer at Bloomin' last December. Kappitt joined Outback Steakhouse in 2011 as CMO.

The bulk of the parent company's spending last year—$99 million—was for Outback, whose lead creative agency is Deutsch in New York. The creative assignment is not part of the review.