Darden taps Olive Garden’s ad agency for LongHorn

ORLANDO Fla. Darden Restaurants Inc. has named WPP Group’s Grey New York as agency of record for the company’s LongHorn Steakhouse brand. Spending is estimated at $20 million.


Grey, which has been agency of record for Darden’s Olive Garden concept since 1984, replaces IPG’s Fitzgerald + Co. of Atlanta, which held the account since late 2006.



Darden acquired LongHorn’s parent company Rare Hospitality International Inc. last year for $1.4 billion. LongHorn has more than 300 units in the Eastern, Southern and Midwestern United States.


Darden’s other brands include Red Lobster, The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze and Season’s 52.

LongHorn president Dave George praised Grey as an “outstanding marketing partner” in the growth and success of Olive Garden and said he looks forward to the agency’s “creativity, strategic thinking and deep understanding of the casual-dining marketplace” in helping LongHorn expand its brand.