Applebee’s to End Its Relationship with CP+B

By Patrick Coffee 

American chain Applebee’s announced today that it would be parting ways with Crispin Porter + Bogusky after more than three years together.

In a statement, the client’s SVP of marketing Darin Dugan writes:

“CP+B has been a valued creative partner during our three years together, but we’re taking the Applebee’s brand in a new direction and believe our plans would benefit from fresh thinking and new approaches.”

CP+B won the business back in 2012, when Adweek called it a “foodie” agency (it had Arby’s, Domino’s and Kraft Mac & Cheese on its roster at the time).

Applebee’s does not appear to be launching a traditional review; its spokesperson writes that “the company will discuss the assignment of its account with a select few potential agency partners” in February 2016, when its contract with Crispin officially ends. The client did not provide any more information on that front.

This marks Crispin’s biggest loss since Best Buy, but the agency has added several new accounts in recent months including PayPal and American Airlines in addition to hiring and promoting various executives in Boulder and Los Angeles.

This word of “fresh thinking” on the marketing front follows news that Applebee’s will be relocating its headquarters from Kansas City to L.A. following the resignation of its president; Julia Stewart, CEO of parent company DineEquity, stepped up to play lead in September.

If we had to guess, we’d say that at least some of the potential agencies mentioned in the statement are located on the West Coast.

Kantar Media says Applebee’s spent $165 million on measured media in the U.S. last year.