Restaurant Chain Red Robin Hires Vitro After Review

Agency Change Comes Under New CMO Denny Marie Post

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Burger chain Red Robin has named Vitro its creative agency after a review, succeeding Minneapolis-based agency Periscope.

Red Robin
Red Robin

Periscope, which handled both creative and media duties, had worked on the business for three years but did not defend the account. Consultant Janet Bustin with Mzyme Marketing in Dallas handled the pitch process. In addition to creative, Vitro will also be handling media planning. Other agencies working with Red Robin include Coyne PR, which won the account in early 2012.

Red Robin a little over a year ago named Starbucks and T-Mobile veteran Denny Marie Post its senior VP-chief marketing officer, succeeding Susan Lintonsmith. The chain spent nearly $20 million on domestic measured media in 2011, according to Kantar Media, and for the first six months of 2012, it spent more than $12 million. The chain has more than 470 restaurants in the U.S. and Canada.

"Vitro impressed us with their insurgent attitude, their top to bottom understanding of our business, and their track record of growing challenger brands," said Ms. Post in a statement. "They delivered a fresh perspective that will help us climb to the top of this incredibly competitive category."

Vitro will be tasked with helping the chain lift sales, as Red Robin has been facing increasing competition from growing fast-casual chains in the so-called better burger category.

In early 2011 it announced a turnaround initiative, dubbed Project RED, an acronym for its main objectives: revenue growth, expense management and deployment of capital. Its same-store sales for 2011 were up 2.9%. But during an earnings call last year, CEO Steve Carley said that sales disappointed because of discounting by competitors and missed marketing opportunities.

Red Robin is conducting a separate media-buying review, and Vitro will be participating.

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