ARBY'S NARROWS CREATIVE REVIEW

Eight Semifinalists to Meet With Marketer Next Week

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Arby's has narrowed its list of contenders for the creative portion of its advertising account to eight semifinalists.

Scheduled for on-site meetings with the marketer next week are Publicis Groupe's Bartle Bogle Hegarty; Havas' Euro RSCG; MDC Partners' Kirshenbaum, Bond & Partners; Omnicom Group's Merkley & Partners (all four are based in New York); Omnicom's Martin/Williams, Minneapolis; independent Modernista, Boston; Interpublic Group of Cos.' Mullen, Wenham, Mass.; and independent Venables, Bell & Partners, San Francisco.

Arby's will trim the list to four finalists,

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who will receive briefings from the marketer by the end of August for final presentations in early October.

Wanamaker Associates, Atlana, is conducting the review.

The Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.-based chain's marketing operation 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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