Tuesday, August 10, 2010

7862: Another Fishy Agency Review.

Adweek reported Red Lobster has narrowed its search to two White advertising agencies. Technically, one of the agencies is Grey. But in the end, the Red, White and Grey scenario lacks color.

2 Remain in Pitch for Red Lobster
The seafood chain spends more than $115 mil. annually in measured media

By Andrew McMains

Red Lobster has narrowed the field to two agencies in its review of creative and media planning duties on its advertising account, sources said.

Sources identified the shops as WPP Group’s Grey and Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi & Saatchi, both in New York. Red Lobster executives will now meet once more with each before selecting a winner, said sources.

Four agencies made presentations to Red Lobster last week and had expected a decision—not a cut—this week. Sources previously identified the other finalists as Interpublic Group’s Draftfcb in Chicago and WPP’s Ogilvy & Mather in New York.

Red Lobster’s major media spending totaled more than $115 million last year, roughly the same as in 2008, according to Nielsen. Those figures don’t include online spending.

Grey and Saatchi declined to comment, and a client representative had no immediate comment. But sources said that Red Lobster notified the agencies of the cut today.

Last week’s pitches took place at the client’s headquarters in Orlando, Fla. Saatchi presented on Aug. 2, and Ogilvy, Grey and Draftfcb on Aug. 3, according to sources. Pile + Co in Boston is managing the process.

The winner will succeed independent The Richards Group in Dallas, which did not defend. Richards had handled the business since 2004.

Media buying duties are not in play and remain at Publicis Groupe’s Zenith Media in New York.

Red Lobster is a unit of Darden Restaurants, whose other chains include Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze and Seasons 52.

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