Outback Chooses Lowe

Outback Steakhouse has selected Lowe here to handle creative duties on its ad account after a review, sources said.

Major media spending on the brand totaled $90 million last year and nearly $60 million in the first eight months of 2008, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Sources identified the other finalists as WPP Group’s Young & Rubicam in Chicago, independent McKinney in Durham, N.C and the incumbent, Publicis Groupe’s The Kaplan Thaler Group in New York. Kaplan Thaler had handled the business since 2005. (WPP’s Ogilvy & Mather also reached the final round but withdrew before final presentations.)

Select Resources International in Santa Monica, Calif., managed the process. Outback, a unit of OSI Restaurant Partners in Tampa, Fla., and SRI could not immediately be reached, and officials at Lowe did not return calls.

Media duties on the business were not in play and remain at Aegis Group’s Carat in New York, which also handles OSI’s Carrabba’s brand.