Update: Outback Steakhouse Picks Lowe as Lead Agency

Outback Steakhouse has selected Lowe in New York to handle creative duties on its ad account after a review, the Interpublic Group shop has confirmed.

Major media spending on the brand totaled $90 million last year in the U.S. and nearly $60 million in the first eight months of 2008 (not including online), according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

“It’s a privilege to be working with such charming and ambitious people,” said Mark Wnek, Lowe’s chairman and chief creative officer.

The account will be managed by Nancy Katz, a managing director, and Lowe’s first work is expected in the spring.

Sources identified the other finalists as WPP Group’s Young & Rubicam in Chicago, independent McKinney in Durham, N.C., and the incumbent, Publicis Groupe’s The Kaplan Thaler Group in New York. Kaplan Thaler had handled the business since 2005. (WPP’s Ogilvy & Mather also reached the final round but withdrew before final presentations.)

Select Resources International in Santa Monica, Calif., managed the process. Outback, a unit of OSI Restaurant Partners in Tampa, Fla.

Media duties on the business were not in play and remain at Aegis Group’s Carat in New York, which also handles OSI’s Carrabba’s brand.