Zenith Media has been named the planning and buying AOR for LongHorn Steakhouse and The Capital Grille, both part of Darden Restaurants. LongHorn and The Capital Grille were acquired by Darden late last year it the “RARE” acquisition and recently completed an agency review. Zenith also represents Darden’s Red Lobster and Olive Garden. The month-long review included incumbents MediaCom and The Richards Group.
Dave Ehlers, SVP/Director of Corp. Development, tells RBR/TVBR they have significant local market expertise, which they wanted to tap into now, but also on the horizon “we’re looking at ways to grow with them in a national perspective,” says Ehlers. “We handle their national buying for Darden (Olive Garden and Red Lobster). So I think that’s their long-range goal and I think they saw us as a key competitor that could deliver for them.”
“LongHorn Steakhouse and The Capital Grille are exciting companies poised for continued growth,” said Tim Jones, CEO, ZenithOptimedia. “Through the review process, we were able to bring a unique perspective to connect with their customers, drive traffic and enhance marketing ROI. This is a wonderful win and we are excited to apply our strategic approach and expand our longtime relationship with Darden.”
LongHorn Steakhouse and The Capital Grille join Zenith Media’s client list, which includes Verizon, Toyota, Lexus, Scion, General Mills, L’Oreal, Nestlé, and HP as well as other Darden brands — Red Lobster and Olive Garden.