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'Old World' Dining Out at Olive Garden as New Modern Look takes over reports SaveCrunch

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(EMAILWIRE.COM, October 31, 2012 ) San Francisco, CA -- Olive Garden is tossing out the Old World family atmosphere to appeal to more modern, and hectic, lifestyles. The 14-year campaign that advertised the restaurant chain as a slower-paced Italian dining experience will be coming to an end on October 14th.

The When Youre Here, Youre Family slogan will be replaced by Go Olive Garden ads, voiced by popular Modern Family actress Julie Bowen, who plays a compulsive mom on the ABC sitcom.

The new ads will feature daily scenes from modern, on-the-go families: yoga sessions, family ice skating, and social media-friendly social outings with smart-phone self-portraits.

Jay Spenchian, executive vice president of marketing with Olive Garden, said that the company had been more about this traditional family meal that long, lingering meal, with lots of laughter, lots of joy. It was a very stereotypical Italian family dinner. Adding, that the chain no longer felt that the slow-paced image was in-line with the faster-paced lives of modern American family.

Olive Garden, owned by Florida-based Darden Restaurants Inc., is set to kick-off its year-long make-over on the 14th as part of a bid to cast the restaurant as a place where families can stop in for a light dinner or lunch, not just for traditional family dinners. The strategy, focusing on affordability and flexibility, is similar to that of another Darden-owned chain, Red Lobster.

New items from the Lighter Italian Fare menu, offering less-filling choices of 575 calories-or-less, will be spotlit to reflect the image of a more accessible, more health conscious dining experience.

Another featured attraction for value-conscious customers is the Dinner Today, Dinner Tomorrow promotion, where Olive Garden will send customers who order a full dinner from the restaurant home with a second-dinner, complete with individual sauce containers. The promotion seeks to reward diners that enjoy existing sit-down meals. The offer ends November 18th.

The re-branding effort is an attempt to invigorate the chains flagging sales numbers, which have consistently fallen below industry averages since 2010.

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Travis Caleb Jackson

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