Red Lobster Ads Bow ‘Chef Ned’

Euro RSCG McCon-naughy Tatham introduces “Chef Ned” to emphasize Red Lobster’s passion for seafood in the latest round of TV spots for the chain.

Three new commercials that break today continue the chain’s $60 million “Go overboard”-themed campaign, but employ more situational humor and dialog than past executions, sources said. Chef Ned is an outgrowth of an earlier spot in which a chef came out of the ocean bearing lobster to herald the restaurant’s annual Lobster Fest.

Agency sources are quietly hopeful that Chef Ned, who is portrayed by an actor, can become an iconic character for the chain, which continues efforts to establish a fun and youthful image. The character is put in various scenarios in which his love of seafood shines through. In one spot, for example, he’s in the waiting room of a patent office with a new crab recipe.

The “Go overboard” theme was established last year with spots including one in which a lifeguard’s cry of “shark” led a seafood loving beach crowd to swarm the water.

The spots this summer back the chain’s “Festival of Crab” promotion, which introduces several new crab dishes onto the menu. The restaurant is trying to duplicate the success of its Lobster Fest promotion.

Officials at the Orlando-Fla.-based chain, a unit of Darden Restaurants, could not be reached for comment on the campaign. Red Lobster operates 661 restaurants in North America.

Officials at Tatham also declined to talk about the work, which also includes three new radio spots.