Merkley Adds Mitchell’s Fish Market

Merkley + Partners has expanded its relationship with Ruth’s Hospitality Group by adding creative duties on Mitchell’s Fish Market, a restaurant chain that Ruth’s acquired last year.

Merkley already handled media duties for the Columbus, Ohio-based chain. Mitchell’s has 19 restaurants in nine states, including Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Florida and Kentucky.

Billings on the creative assignment, which came without a review, were not disclosed.

Merkley, an Omnicom Group shop in New York, succeeds independent shop LondyLawrence in Columbus.

Previous advertising has been regional and consisted primarily of print ads. Major media spending has been relatively modest: less than $1 million last year and about $760,000 in the first 10 months of 2010, according to Nielsen. Going forward, the client will need a mixture of print and digital ads.

Tom Lamb, a group account director who also oversees Merkley’s Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Axa Equitable business, will manage the account.

Referring to Mitchell’s parent company, Lamb said: “We love that they’ve got the trust in us to give us another brand.”

Ruth’s first hired Merkley in the spring of 2008.

Ruth’s Hospitality Group is based in Heathrow, Fla.

Other Merkley clients include Mercedes-Benz USA, Arby’s, Pinnacle Foods, Schering-Plough and Ferrero Rocher.