OUTBACK AWARDS $60 MILLION ACCOUNT TO KAPLAN THALER

Decision Ends Three-Month Review

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Amid a brand and marketing overhaul, Outback Steakhouse awarded its $60 million advertising account to Kaplan Thaler Group, New York, following a three-month review.
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Finalists
The agency won the review against finalists Havas’ Euro RSCG, New York, and Omnicom Group’s Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco. The agency replaces independent David and Goliath, Los Angeles.

Sales at the No. 2 U.S. casual-dining chain continued to be sluggish, with same-store sales down 0.1% in August and down 1.2% in July.

The review was made public in June, when new CEO Bill Allen and President and Chief Operating Officer Paul Avery met with analysts.

'Evolve the marketing
“I think it’s time for us to evolve the marketing, Mr. Avery said at the time, adding that the chains “humor and then ‘here’s my product’ [advertising] was growing a little old.”

In March, co-founders Chris Sullivan and Bob Basham stepped down as CEO and chief operating officer, respectively, retaining co-chairmanship.

Fulton Smith Sykes is the chain's vice president of marketing and advertising.