Merkley Adds Ruth’s Chris Steak House

BOSTON Ruth’s Chris Steak House has completed a review begun late last year, hiring Merkley + Partners as its lead agency following a search led by consultancy Pile and Co. here.

The client in Heathrow, Fla., for three years had used Peter A. Mayer Advertising in New Orleans to create its ads. That agency was invited to participate and defended in the review. Finalists were not disclosed.

Ruth’s spent about $5.5 million in domestic measured media in each of the past two years, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Founded in New Orleans by Ruth Fertel in 1965, Ruth’s Chris now has almost 120 locations.

“Merkley demonstrated themselves to be a great partner for us and we look forward to working with them to meet our aggressive branding and performance goals,” said Jill Ramsier, vp, marketing at Ruth’s Chris.

The bulk of the company’s restaurants are located in the U.S., though Ruth’s Chris also operates in Canada, Mexico, Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan.

“We are excited about the opportunity to help them extend their brand recognition and grow their business,” said Alex Gellert, CEO of Merkley.

Omnicom Group-owned Merkley in New York adds media planning and buying, as well as creative chores and related services. The shop’s other clients include Arby’s, Axa Equitable, Ferrero Rocher, Mercedes-Benz, Novartis and Schering-Plough, among others.