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Restaurant Reviews Creative

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N.Y. Incumbent Put on Notice; Client Wants Fresh Thinking
NEW YORK--Denny's Restaurants has launched a review of creative duties on its advertising account, following a split with incumbent Lowe Lintas & Partners.
The Spartanburg, N.C., client's director of national advertising, Jenifer Harmon, said the account amounts to less than $10 million and that Denny's was hoping to have a new shop on board by the end of March. She said Lowe, which had worked with the sit-down family restaurant chain since 1995, would continue as agency for 90 days.
The split with the New York incumbent comes three months after the merger between The Lowe Group and Ammirati Puris Lintas made Burger King the predominant fast-food brand at the new entity. Agency spokesperson Debbie Atkins, however, said that client conflict had nothing to do with Denny's decision.
"Burger King is a fast-food restaurant and we didn't see that as a problem," At-kins said. "We had already made a decision that we were going to look for fresh thinking."
Harmon said Denny's would contact four or five agencies for consideration by the end of this week, then "narrow it down to two or three and ask them to handle an assignment on a pitch basis."
Harmon is leading the review with Denny's new vice president of marketing, Roy Getz, formerly of Bob Evans Farms in Columbus, Ohio. That restaurant's lead agency is Eire Direct Marketing in Chicago, which is not being considered by Denny's, Atkins said.
Denny's is part of the Advantica Restaurant Group, which also owns Carrows and Coco's, two chains of eateries on the West Coast. J. Walter Thompson handles the accounts of those two restaurants. Atkins said Denny's would not comment on whether JWT would be invited to the review.
Denny's, which also employs shops for African American, Hispanic and promotional efforts, spent $54 million on advertising from January-October 1999, per Competitive Media Reporting.