Arby's has narrowed its search for a creative agency to three shops, after meeting with six agencies earlier this week.
The finalists are Fallon in Minneapolis, BBDO in Atlanta and The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va., Arby's has confirmed. The fast food chain's annual media spending approaches $125 million a year.
The winner will succeed incumbent Crispin Porter + Bogusky, which exited the review two weeks ago. Crispin, a unit of MDC Partners, has worked on the account since early last year, when it shifted—without a review—from BBDO.
BBDO's previous tenure on the brand lasted 14 months. So the next lead agency will be the third for Arby's in four years.
"The brand has had a lot of change in the last 10 years," acknowledged Rob Lynch, the new brand president and chief marketing officer at Arby's. "So, our vision is to [move] beyond all that change."
In the next two weeks, executives from Arby's will visit each agency before having them back at Arby's for a work session, according to Lynch. The goal, he explained, is to get a sense of not only their thinking but also what it's like to work together.
"We're trying to get a partnership in place that can build a sustainable positioning that will help Arby's continue to grow," he added.
Final presentations are slated for mid-January, with a decision expected shortly thereafter.
Media planning and buying are not in play and remain at Initiative. Joanne Davis Consulting in New York is managing the search.