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Arby's Begins Agency Search

Account Has Been with CP&B Since Early 2012

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Just a month after Arby's named a new CMO, the chain has begun an agency search.

Arby's recently circulated a request-for-information to prospective creative agencies, according to executives familiar with the RFI; the search is being overseen by Joanne Davis Consulting. It's believed that Arby's media agency, Interpublic's Initiative, is not affected by the search. Arby's declined to comment.

Arby's CMO Rob Lynch
Arby's CMO Rob Lynch

The creative account has been at MDC Partners' CP&B since February 2012, when Arby's then-new CMO, Russ Klein, moved the business from Omnicom's BBDO without a review. BBDO won the account in December 2010. It is unclear if CP&B will be defending the business; the agency declined to comment.

Rob Lynch joined the chain as its brand president-CMO last month, replacing Mr. Klein, who left the company in May -- a move that came after some of the chain's franchisees had sent the company's president, Hala Moddelmog, a letter in late December in which they took issue with marketing, according to Nation's Restaurant News.

The letter, sent by the Arby's Franchise Association, the chain's franchise council, noted discontent among franchisees because they had not been given much notice or time to meet Mr. Klein before approving his appointment. Mr. Klein joined the company in January 2012.

The franchisees also complained that Mr. Klein booted agency BBDO and tapped CP&B -- which he worked with at Burger King -- without interviewing CP&B or other potential agencies, and despite several months of increasing sales while BBDO was its agency.

Arby's in October 2012 rolled out a rebranding effort and campaign from CP&B featuring the tagline "Slicing up freshness." The effort included a new logo and messaging to convince consumers of the food's freshness and to position it more directly against Subway. It replaced the 2011 push by BBDO and the tagline "Good mood food."

Arby's, owned by equity firm Roark Capital Group, spent about $122.7 million on U.S. measured media in 2012, according to Kantar Media. It spent $112.3 million in 2011.

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