$180 Mil. Applebee’s Begins Review

CHICAGO Applebee’s has placed creative duties on its $180 million ad account, currently at Interpublic Group’s DraftFCB here, into review, the client confirmed.

The agency said it has declined an invitation to defend.

“We are eager to write the next chapter in the advertising life of this great brand,” client CMO George Williams said, in a statement. “We are looking for the best and brightest minds in the business to bring forward fresh, new and compelling advertising that will make consumers hunger for our food and eager to be a part of the Applebee’s dining experience.”

Williams, a former marketing consultant, joined the Overland Park, Kan., company last month as chief marketing officer. He had been svp, advertising at Blockbuster and has worked for independent shops The Richards Group and Marc USA.

“After a very amicable seven-year relationship, DraftFCB and Applebee’s have mutually agreed to end our relationship due to the direction Applebee’s new CMO wants to take the work,” according to a statement issued by the agency. “We wish our many friends at Applebee’s every success going forward, and we remain committed to ensuring them a very smooth transition to a new agency.”

Media planning and buying duties will remain at Publicis Groupe’s Starcom in Chicago.