T&O Group Triumphs in Review for In-N-Out Burger

The T&O Group has emerged as the winner of a prolonged shootout for the creative portion of In-N-Out Burger’s estimated $5-10 million account.

The West Coast fast-food chain, which pioneered the drive-through concept, chose the Irvine, Calif., shop after a review that stretched on for roughly six months. T&O’s main competition was fellow finalist Ground Zero in Marina del Rey, Calif. Sources said a third contender, Sagon-Phior Group in Sherman Oaks, Calif., was eliminated earlier in the process.

The account was last handled by McCann-Erickson in Los Angeles. That agency took up with Burger King this year.

In-N-Out, based in Irvine, spent about $1 million on advertising last year, per CMR. However, sources have said expansion plans may lead to a boost for the ad budget [Adweek, March 19].

T&O, an 18-year-old shop, will handle “the full scope of [In-N-Out Burger’s] communications needs,” from advertising to collateral materials, said agency president Steve O’Leary.

The jingle featuring the line “In-N-Out, In-N-Out, that’s what a hamburger’s all about,” which has been a staple of the company’s advertising for many years, will remain. “It’s too memorable an ingredient to walk away from,” O’Leary said.

Media buying chores will remain with the Los Angeles office of Initiative Media.

O’Leary said the account is particularly attractive because of the chain’s commitment to quality. “It’s an opportunity for us to be aligned with a company and a group of people who want to provide the best product and the best service to the consumer,” he said.

He also pointed out that T&O, which claimed billings of $65 million last year, has worked with Subway and Taco Bell and that experience among its employees includes work on Arby’s and Burger King.

Client representatives did not return calls seeking comment.

In-N-Out operates 148 stores in California, Nevada and Arizona. The company is still run by the family that founded it in 1948.