Works Includes Local Buys for Steakhouse and Italian Grill

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A correction has been made in this story. See below for details.

NEW YORK ( -- Tampa, Fla.-based Outback Steakhouse Inc. has assigned its local media buying and planning account to Doner, the independent ad agency said today.

The account, which encompasses work for two chains, Australian-themed Outback Steakhouse and Carrabba's Italian Grill, is estimated to be worth a combined $30 million. The incumbent was Omnicom Group's PHD, though sibling OMD continues national buying on behalf of the chain. Havas' media agency MPG is also on the Outback Steakhouse Inc. roster for other restaurant brands.

Local markets
Doner will handle local media for Outback Steakhouse in 120 local markets and Carrabba in 70 markets from the agency's Tampa office beginning Aug. 10.

The company spent $46.5 million in measured media in 2002, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

Creative account
The company's creative is handled by independent David & Goliath in Los Angeles, said Fulton Smith-Sykes, vice president of marketing at Outback Steakhouse restaurant. The agency is currently shooting new spots in its current campaign that will air in September. ABC Monday Night Football analyst John Madden is also making a return appearance in commercials, due to air in the third quarter.

Outback Steakhouse Inc. reported a slight drop in sales for the month of July, compared with last year, but reported that second-quarter earnings rose 10% to $47.1 million from the same period last year.

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the scope of Doner's media assignment. Doner will handle only local media services. This corrected story further clarifies Outback's creative and media accounts.

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