Outback Steakhouse Splits Media Between New York Buyers

Officials with Outback Steakhouse Restaurants decided last week to divide the media account of the Tampa, Fla.-based chain’s $20 million ad business at two New York media specialists. A decision on the creative portion is expected to follow shortly, according to the client.
KSL Media has been hired for spot buying, and national placement will be handled by SFM Media.
The decision frees Outback Steakhouse to begin a search for an agency to handle the creative portion of its advertising account. The client split with McCann-Erickson in New York late last year.
Client vice president Nancy Schneid said she hopes to have a creative shop named within two months. She would not identify the agencies under consideration.
“We feel [media and creative] need to be separate because of the retail nature of our business,” Schneid said. “We’re in 181 cities on a spot basis; that’s a pretty big task and it needs to be managed and focused on separately from the creative.”
In the interim, Outback Steakhouse will use existing creative work produced by McCann.
Separately, Carrabbas’ Italian Grill, which operates under the Outback Steakhouse corporate umbrella, is seeking an agency for its estimated $2 million-plus (according to Competitive Media Reporting) account, which will go to one shop.
Andi Jacobs, director of marketing for Carrabbas Italian Grill, said the agency search is in the preliminary stage, but hoped to wrap the process with two months.