ARBY'S NARROWS CREATIVE REVIEW TO FOUR AGENCIES

Briefings to Take Place Next Week

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Fast-food chain Arby's said it is looking at four agencies in its review of the $15 million creative portion of its $95 million advertising account.

MDC Partners' Kirshenbaum, Bond & Partners,

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New York; Omnicom Group's Merkley & Partners, New York, Interpublic Group of Cos.' Mullen, Wenham, Mass.; and Venables, Bell & Partners, San Francisco are advancing as finalists, from a list of eight semifinalists.

Briefings and finals
Briefings will take place next week in Atlanta, where the search consultant, Wanamaker Associates, is located, and finals will be held Sept. 21-22.

The Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.-based chain's marketing operation also is based in Atlanta and is working to reposition the brand based on a study by Siegel & Gale, New York; Arby's will reveal results of the study this fall to franchisees.

Since most of Arby's 3,450 units are franchised, roughly $80 million of the ad budget is spent in local markets and is handled by co-op agencies. The remaining $15 million in media spending is allocated to the national brand. Media buying and planning is handled by Interpublic Group of Cos.' Initiative Media Worldwide, New York.

Earlier this month, Arby's split with its longtime agency Doner, of Southfield, Mich., amid a management shakeup that followed a rocky 2003. Doner continues to handle advertising for 30 co-ops.

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