How Outback Dealt With Irrelevance, Killed Its Cheesy Image

The recession wasn’t a tough time for Outback Steakhouse just because consumers cut back on spending — the chain was struggling to find its voice after ditching its original tagline, “No rules, just right,” in 2007.

What followed was years of trial and error with taglines. The chain launched “Go Outback,” in 2007, which lasted less than a year. In 2008 came “Crave on,” which lasted for four or five months. “Live adventurous,” which was the first tagline by then-new and current agency Deutsch, followed in early 2009. Later that same year it settled on “Always fresh in the Outback.”

But what the company was ultimately facing in 2007 was irrelevance, said Chief Marketing Officer Mike Kappitt, who joined the company in 2011. “What was “cool Australia’ in 1988 became cheesy,” he said, adding that not only did marketing and the stores — nearly 20 years old at that point — need a refresh, so did the menu, which the chain overhauled in 2010 to include lighter options.

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