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Red Lobster Reaches Out to Shops

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CHICAGO Red Lobster has asked several agencies for ideas about the chain's advertising, which has been handled by Havas' Euro RSCG Tatham Partners for five years, sources said. The client spends $70 million annually on domestic ads.

The calls are being made Kim Lopdrup, formerly COO of North American operations for Burger King, who joined the Red Lobster division of Orlando, Fla.-based Darden Restaurants in December, sources said.

Lopdrup has been auditing all aspects of Red Lobster's marketing, a client representative said earlier this month. A company rep could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

No requests for proposals have been issued and Tatham has not been put on notice of a review, sources said.

Tatham's most recent campaign, tagged "Share the love," launched last July but was subsequently panned by client executives including Dick Rivera, who exited as president and chief operating officer earlier this month.

The tagline has been dropped, and Tatham has been working on new executions, with meetings scheduled into next month, sources said.

Sales have been slipping. The company reported same-store sales fell 12-13 percent in December, continuing a pattern that began last spring following two years of same-store sales gains.

Joe Lee, chairman and chief executive officer of Darden, replaced Rivera. A new president is expected to be named by May, the company said.