Outback Hires Kaplan Thaler

NEW YORK Publicis Groupe’s The Kaplan Thaler Group has been awarded national broadcast chores on the Outback Steakhouse ad account, the client has confirmed.

The New York agency bested two other finalists in the review: Omnicom Group’s Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco, and Havas’ Euro RSCG in New York.

All three made final presentations last week, with Euro presenting to the Tampa, Fla., client at its headquarters on Wednesday, Kaplan Thaler presenting Thursday and Goodby making its presentation on Friday, sources said.

The restaurant chain has 885 locations nationwide and spent $80 million on U.S. ads last year, almost all of it on broadcast efforts, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. The client has said it could up its spending to $100 million next year.

Incumbent davidandgoliath in Los Angeles, an independent agency, declined to defend. The shop worked on the business for three years.

Havas-owned Media Planning Group in New York handles the company’s national media planning and buying. Independent Doner in Southfield, Mich., and Tampa buys spot media for Outback. Both were said to be unaffected.

“When everything comes together—athletes call it being in the zone—certainly that day, Kaplan Thaler was in the zone. Everything they did made sense strategically and creatively. We’re looking to evolve the brand and make sure it resonates with customers. We can do a better job of differentiating the brand in the consumer’s mind,” said Fulton Smith-Sykes, vp of advertising and marketing at Outback.

A new campaign is expected to break in the first quarter.