Applebee’s Will End Its Relationship With ‘Foodie’ Agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky

Chain will reach out to potential partners in early 2016

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American casual chain Applebee's will soon end its relationship with creative agency of record Crispin Porter + Bogusky after more than three years.

In a statement sent to Adweek, the company said it will part ways with CP+B in early 2016 "as part of broad plans to transform the marketing and advertising direction of the brand."

Applebee's does not appear to be releasing an RFP or launching a formal review. Instead, a spokesperson said that "the company will discuss the assignment of its account with a select few potential agency partners" when its contract with Crispin ends in February 2016.

The company's svp of marketing and culinary, Darin Dugan, told Adweek, "CP+B has been a valued creative partner during our three years together, but we're taking the Applebee's brand in a new direction and believe our plans would benefit from fresh thinking and new approaches."

Applebee's did not provide additional information on which agencies it would consider for future campaigns or what that new creative direction might include. In September, the chain announced plans to move its headquarters from Kansas City to Glendale, California after its president resigned and the chief executive of its parent company DineEquity took control.

When CP+B won the Applebee's business in 2012, it had become known as something of a "foodie" agency, making its name with the Burger King "Subservient Chicken" campaign and counting Arby's, Domino's and Kraft Mac & Cheese among its clients. Arby's later went to Fallon, but the Boulder, Colo.-based shop retains both Domino's and Kraft after emerging as one of few winners in Kraft's November 2014 agency consolidation. Crispin's status on that account may change given the newly-formed Kraft-Heinz company's October decision to review all of its creative accounts and move production for future campaigns in-house, but for the time being, the agency will continue to create work like last month's Star Wars nostalgia spot.

CP+B recently went through a round of major executive staffing changes, saying good-bye to its CEO and several creative directors—but it has also won several major pieces of business over the past year including the global accounts for Infiniti, PayPal and, more recently, American Airlines. It also named Lori Senecal of parent company MDC Partners as its new global CEO.

Representatives from CP+B declined to comment for this story and deferred to the client. Applebee's told Adweek it would not be making any further statements.

According to Kantar Media, Applebee's spent $165.4 million on measured media in the U.S. last year.

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.
Publish date: November 4, 2015 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT