ORLANDO: Red Lobster, which separated from former parent company Darden Restaurants at the end of July, has brought on MWW as its PR agency partner.
After the split, Golden Gate Capital acquired the seafood-restaurant chain for $2.1 billion in cash. Sard Verbinnen & Co. supported Golden Gate through the acquisition process.
The chain awarded MWW the business at the beginning of July, said Erica Ettori, director of communications at Red Lobster. She declined to offer further information on the review process.
When Red Lobster was part of Darden, Edelman served as the PR agency partner for the brand, along with other restaurants in the portfolio.
The chain picked MWW because it understood the importance of integrating corporate communications, executive visibility, and issues management with consumer marcomms efforts and branding, explained Ettori.
"When someone embarks on a journey of becoming an independent company, there are a lot of different stakeholders involved," she added. "[MWW] understands the beauty of being independent, and they have the mindset of being a really well-known brand, but one that has the ability to be more entrepreneurial and make decisions that benefit the company for the long-term."
The agency will work to elevate the brand and position it with a "positive and powerful narrative" going forward, added Ettori.
"Red Lobster is an iconic brand with a rich history, and I really think independence and being a standalone company breeds great opportunities for us," she said.
Red Lobster, which was founded in 1968, has more than 700 restaurants across the US and Canada, as well as about 58,000 employees.
MWW is leading account work from its New York headquarters, with support from offices across the country, said Carreen Winters, EVP of corporate communications and reputation management at the firm.
She declined to say how many staffers are working on the account. The agency is focused on "helping the brand be fresh and relevant to consumers today for all of the reasons they would come to Red Lobster and in all of the channels we can reach them," explained Winters.
While MWW is not managing the brand’s social channels, the agency is collaborating with Red Lobster’s brand marketing team and helping with strategy to ensure seamless messaging across platforms.
"We want Red Lobster to matter more to their employees, communities, and customers, and we as an agency want to matter to Red Lobster as a partner, so success is about moving the needle in terms of trust, confidence, and relevance among all stakeholders," said Winters.
Budget information and contract length were not disclosed.