Red Lobster Heroes Given Commercial Roles

CHICAGO Red Lobster turned to Grey—one of three agencies vying for its $100 million account—to inject a bit of reality into advertising its Lobsterfest promotion.

The New York agency’s television spot features Al Joy and Jason Roden, servers at a Red Lobster restaurant in Chattanooga, Tenn., who intervened to stop a kidnapping. Returning from a trip in Florida in early January, they saw an Amber Alert in Georgia about a vehicle containing three children who had been abducted. Once they were close to their hometown, Roden and Joy spotted a car matching the vehicle’s description and called 911.

The spot breaks Feb 9 on network and cable television, but does not refer to the duo’s efforts. Instead, Joy and Roden are seen preparing and serving food to customers, in addition to the traditional seafood shots.

“We’re very proud of the role that Al and Jason played in helping the authorities find the suspect and reunite the children with their family,” said Kim Lopdrup, executive vice president of marketing for the Orlando, Fla.-based restaurant chain. “Giving them roles in our upcoming national campaign gives us an opportunity to hold them up as positive role models for the rest of us.”

A client representative said Grey was used for this one project, but that Euro RSCG Tatham Partners in Chicago remains the company’s lead agency. Red Lobster officials are talking with Grey, Tatham and The Richards Group in Dallas about its $100 million advertising account.