Marie Callender Appoints Duke

Duke Creative Marketing Solutions has been selected to handle the first major brand advertising effort for Marie Callender’s Restaurants, an account estimated at more than $10 million.

The Orange, Calif.-based family dining chain operates more than 170 restaurants in 11 states in the West and Southwest, as well as in Mexico.

The New Orleans agency, whose other restaurant clients include Ruth’s Chris Steak House, was selected because of its experience in the food-service industry, said agency president Lana Duke.

A referral, not a review, brought Duke to the client, an agency spokesperson said. Marie’s previous agency, Mering & Associates in Sacramento, Calif., could not be reached for comment.

“This is an exciting development for us as Marie Callender’s is one of the top brands in the restaurant industry, and this account is one of the largest to be assigned to a New Orleans ad agency in recent years,” Duke said.

The client also makes frozen home-style meals and pies, which are distributed by ConAgra.

The chain was founded by Maria Callender in the 1940s. The Callender family first opened a wholesale bakery in 1948 and a restaurant in 1964. Investment firm Castle Harlan now owns the business.

Duke Creative Marketing Solutions, formerly known as Duke Unlimited, was founded in 1975. Other clients include Advance Polybag and the New Orleans Visitor Information Center.