Darden Restaurants Picks Starcom for Media

Darden Restaurants has awarded media chores to Publicis Groupe’s Starcom after a review, per sources.

According to Nielsen, the company spends about $300 million for the brands in the review, which include Red Lobster, Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse.

The incumbents on the business included Zenith Optimedia, MediaCom and the Richards Group.

The review followed the completion in August of a creative competition by Red Lobster, which was won by WPP Group’s Grey.

A rep did not immediately respond to queries. But at the time the media review was confirmed in September, a representative said it was due largely to the company’s reorganization of its marketing operation earlier in the year. At that time, it promoted John Caron to the new position of chief marketing officer, from vp of advertising at Olive Garden.