Darden Reviews Media Chores

Darden Restaurants is conducting a media review for its brands, including Red Lobster, Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse, a client representative confirmed.

Ad spending totals about $300 million across the chains, according to Nielsen.

The review follows the completion last month of a creative competition by Red Lobster, which was won by WPP Group’s Grey.

The client rep said the review activity is 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.

Caron has been tasked with strengthening brand strategy efforts across the portfolio of brands.

Several agencies serve as incumbents, including Zenith Media, which handles most of the buying. MediaCom handles planning for Olive Garden while independent The Richards Group plans for Red Lobster. Richards, per the agency’s policy, will not defend. The client rep said they were being invited to participate.

Pile + Co. is managing the review process.