Capital Grille parent Darden taps Ogilvy as PR lead

ORLANDO, FL: Darden Restaurants' Specialty Restaurant Group has selected Ogilvy Public Relations as its lead PR agency following an RFP that was issued in May.

ORLANDO, FL: Darden Restaurants' Specialty Restaurant Group has selected Ogilvy Public Relations as its lead PR agency following an RFP that was issued in May.

The company launched a review to find a PR firm to promote its Capital Grille, Seasons52, Bahama Breeze, and Eddie V's chains, according to RFP documents obtained by PRWeek. The Specialty Restaurant Group does not include the Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and Longhorn Steakhouse brands, which work with Edelman.

Darden representatives declined to comment on the relationship.
Ogilvy's consumer marketing practice in its Atlanta office will lead account work, focusing on raising awareness of the restaurant brands throughout the US. Christopher Myles, EVP and Atlanta consumer marketing group director at Ogilvy, will lead the account.

The agency's initial work for the Specialty Restaurant Group, which is the fastest-growing unit of the company, will include restaurant openings, event promotions, media outreach, brand positioning, and integrated marketing, said Myles.

He added that Ogilvy will also work on developing and executing social media strategies for the brands. Each brand will have its own dedicated team of staffers, said Myles.

“Our goal is to deliver creative solutions that further define the brand and help to set the brands apart from their respective competitor set,” he explained.

In July, Darden purchased restaurant chain Yard House USA for $585 million. The brand will become part of the Specialty Restaurant Group. Myles said “as of right now,” Yard House does not fall under Ogilvy's scope of work.

According to the RFP documents, Darden was planning on selecting an agency based on its understanding of the restaurants in the Specialty Group, as well as their target audiences. Budget information was not disclosed.

In addition to Darden, Ogilvy Atlanta recently added amusement park operator The Dollywood Company to its roster. It is working on PR efforts as an integrated team with Ogilvy & Mather. 

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