News Release Details

Red Lobster Launches New $60 Million Branding Campaign - Branding Campaign Represents New Direction for Seafood Leader

November 10, 2000

ORLANDO, Fla.--Nov. 10, 2000--Red Lobster is launching the start of its new Red Lobster Go Overboard television advertising campaign, estimated at $60 million, targeting Americans' growing passion for seafood.

The campaign, created by Euro RSCG Tatham in Chicago, signifies a distinct change in how Red Lobster communicates with consumers and combines high-energy with cutting-edge technology and humor. Two new broadcast spots will kick off the first wave of television advertising.

"Our goal is to bring the Red Lobster brand to life for consumers," said Wyman Roberts, executive vice president of marketing for the 653-restaurant company. "We're working to create a deeper emotional bond with consumers, to shake people up a little and make them see that we've got a new attitude and we're not afraid to have fun."

Through the marriage of technology and art, "Kaleidoscope," - the first spot which is currently rolling out - entices viewers with colorful starbursts of seafood and beverage images. Using an advanced kaleidoscopic process called "fractalation," Red Lobster images are infinitely split into new ones creating a display that goes overboard to whet the appetite of the viewer.

"Shark," which also is currently debuting, catches viewers off-guard with its surprising story line. Offering an exaggerated, quirky slant on the theme of "going overboard" for seafood, seafood-passionate beach-goers race into the ocean in hopes of catching a shark swimming off-shore.

A third spot featuring the Go Overboard theme will launch in the spring. The television advertising, which is part of a larger branding campaign that includes national radio and Internet activities, represents the culmination of three years of substantial changes within the company. The new spots will be featured prominently on CBS, ABC, NBC and major cable networks.

"Our research shows that seafood is Americans' favorite food when eating at casual dining restaurants," said Dick Rivera, Red Lobster's president, about the $44 billion casual dining restaurant segment. "The definition of great seafood is changing, however, as baby boomers journey through their middle age. Today, Americans crave contemporary dishes, attractive presentation and fresh seafood. Our campaign tells them that Red Lobster will deliver the unmatched seafood experience they demand."

For the past three years, Red Lobster has been making changes at an accelerated pace. The company is freshening up its menu, remodeling restaurants, boosting crew training and reaching out to consumers with a more energetic and humorous marketing approach. Since 1997, guest satisfaction survey scores have risen strongly and average weekly restaurant sales have increased 22 percent.

Red Lobster reported first quarter sales (ending August 31) of $556.8 million, a 6.6 percent increase over last year, and has experienced 11 consecutive quarters of same restaurant sales growth.

About Red Lobster

With $2.07 billion in fiscal 2000 sales, Red Lobster serves more than 130 million guests annually - more than all other casual dining seafood restaurants combined. It is the largest restaurant company owned by Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE: DRI) of Orlando. Darden also operates Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze, and Smokey Bones BBQ and Sports Bar restaurants. Red Lobster first opened its doors 32 years ago in the Lakeland, Fla. For more information, visit the Red Lobster Web site at www.redlobster.com.

Editor's Note: VHS and Beta copies of the spots, as well as still photography, are available upon request by calling Stephanie Karp, Porter Novelli, 212.601.8241.