Arby's selects former Burger King agency to steer marketing message

Feb. 22, 2012 | by Alicia Kelso

Arby's has pulled another page from the Burger King playbook, naming Crispin Porter + Bogusky as its national advertising and digital agency of record. The agency worked with Burger King for seven years, conceptualizing edgy marketing concepts such as The King, Subservient Chicken and the Whopper Freakout.

The hire comes about a month after Arby's named Burger King veteran Russ Klein as its new CMO.

Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Miami succeeds BBDO New York, which was named Arby's AOR in December 2010.

BBDO's biggest campaign was Arby's "It's Good Mood Food" tagline and complementing ads, launched in February 2011.

Klein said BBDO's work for Arby's was exactly what the brand needed at that time.

"BBDO New York embraced the challenge to help us increase sales and improve traffic," said Bob Kraut, senior vice president of Advertising and Brand Communications. "We wish them continued success and thank them for the creativity, energy and expertise they shared with Arby's."

Part of the bigger picture

A marketing shift is just part of the bigger changes Arby's is embracing following its sale from Wendy's/Arby's Group in the summer. Arby's was acquired by private equity firm Roark Capital in June.

According to Business Insider, the chain also is planning to introduce a new logo, redesigned restaurants and a new, simplified menu sometime in the third quarter.

A new marketing campaign is set to launch in July, during the London Olympic Games.

In Klein's interview with Business Insider, he said the company was planning on sticking with BBDO.

"Although some of my behavior may indicate otherwise, I don't think of myself as someone who feels the need to go chasing agencies just because I'm in a new post," he told the publication.

Per the past behavior reference, Burger King switched agencies – from Y&R to CP+B – within the first six months of his hire. The Arby's AOR switch took less than two months.

Hala Moddelmog, president of Arby's, said the new agency reflects the brand's strategic focus to revitalize itself.

Klein added that the transition offers an opportunity to turn a "great brand into a great business."

"We are building a brand that will be authentic, emotional and enduring, and I know that CP+B can get us there," he said.

Although it was replaced by Burger King in May 2011, CP+B's portfolio still includes heavy hitters such as Microsoft, Unilever, Kraft, Phillips, Coke Zero, American Express, Domino's Pizza, MetLife, Old Navy, Discovery Networks, SAS and Best Buy.

The agency, a member of the MDC Partners network, has won the Grand Prix at the Cannes International Advertising Festival in every major category, and has more than $1 billion in billings.

"CP+B's success speaks volumes," Moddelmog said.

Rob Reilly, partner/worldwide chief creative officer, CP+B, said it's an exciting time to work with Arby's.

"They have iconic products and a unique role to play in the QSR industry. There is absolutely no one better to lead this revitalization than the team they now have in place. What has always struck me about Russ is his huge passion and strategic acumen. We are thrilled to have the chance to partner with him and the team to restore the fervent love for the Arby's brand," Reilly added.

Initiative Media and co-op advertising agencies are not impacted by this change. In addition, Alcone Marketing remains the agency of record for the brand's creative and print production.

Read more about advertising and marketing.

Topics: Business Strategy and Profitability , Communications , Food & Beverage , Marketing / Branding / Promotion , Operations Management , Restaurant Design / Layout

Alicia Kelso / Alicia has been a professional journalist for 15 years. Her work with, and has been featured in publications around the world, including NPR, Good Morning America, Voice of Russia radio, and Franchise Asia magazine.
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