Carat Wins OSI Media

NEW YORK The parent company of Outback Steakhouse and Carraba’s Italian restaurants hired Aegis Group’s Carat here for media chores on its ad account.

“Carat demonstrated a real energy and interest in understanding our brands and demonstrated they are well suited to help meet our business goals,” said Jody Bilney, chief marketing officer of Outback, in a statement.

WPP’s MindShare and independent Horizon Media, both in New York, were the other finalists.

The assignment includes online and offline media planning and buying, outdoor, digital, direct mail and emerging media. Carat said it would work with its sister agencies on the account, with outdoor being handled by Posterscope USA. (Aegis’ Velocity already handles Outback’s sports-marketing chores.)

The client said the budget going forward would be about $110 million.

“We look forward to leveraging all of our capabilities to propel [Outback parent] OSI to the next level of growth,” said David Verklin, CEO of Carat Americas. “I am excited that [the client] has embraced Carat’s business model, vision and integrated approach.”

The business was split between Havas’ MPG and independent agency Doner. MPG in New York, which planned and bought national media for the client, opted not to defend, as did Doner in Southfield, Mich., which handled local spot buying.

Select Resources International in Santa Monica, Calif., oversaw the search. SRI had previously confirmed that the client was looking to consolidate the business at one agency.

Creative duties, currently at Publicis’ Kaplan Thaler Group in New York, were not affected by the search.

OSI spent just over $85 million advertising Outback and Carraba’s in the U.S. last year, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. In addition to Outback and Carraba’s, OSI is parent to Bonefish Grill, Fleming’s, Roy’s and Cheeseburger in Paradise.

This story updates an earlier item with confirmation and additional details.