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Fitzgerald Adds LongHorn

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DALLAS Atlanta-based Rare Hospitality has hired Fitzgerald + Co. as creative agency for its flagship LongHorn Steakhouse restaurant chain after a review, the client said.

Fitzgerald's first campaign will break in early 2007, according to the Atlanta agency.

LongHorn spent $15 million on advertising in 2005 and $10 million through the first nine months of 2006, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. The client had recently worked with Havas' McKinney in Durham, N.C.

With 266 restaurants in the central and Eastern U.S., LongHorn specializes in steaks, seafood and other dishes in a Western-style atmosphere.

Fitzgerald "demonstrated a thorough understanding of our brand, excellent creative depth and an unmatched enthusiasm for working on the LongHorn Steakhouse business," said Rick Trebilcock, senior vice president of marketing at LongHorn.

The shop was already on the parent company's roster, working for its smaller Bugaboo Creek Steak House chain for the past year. The other finalists in the LongHorn review were not disclosed.

"We've been in business for 23 years, and we've had LongHorn Steakhouse on our dream list for 24," said Dave Fitzgerald, president and CEO of Fitzgerald.

With billings of $200 million, Fitzgerald is an Interpublic Group agency representing Aflac, Black & Decker, Coca-Cola, Georgia Power, GMAC Insurance, Havertys furniture, Intercontinental Hotels and Quikrete, among other clients.

Twenty-five years after opening its first restaurant on Peachtree Street in Atlanta, LongHorn Steakhouse operates in 25 states and Puerto Rico.