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News Briefs for August 10, 2011

August 10, 2011

•Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay is in talks with Las Vegas hotel and casino Caesar’s Palace to open at least three Gordon Ramsay-branded restaurants, including a pub/bar and grill. Caesar’s Palace will likely retain control and manage the new eateries, while Ramsay will handle creative involvement, according to The Telegraph. Ramsay’s previous U.S. ventures include three hotel-based restaurants—Gordon Ramsay and Maze at the London NYC and Gordon Ramsay at the London West Hollywood. Plagued by financial woes in late 2009, Ramsay sold off the L.A. restaurant to hotel operator LXR Luxury Resorts and relinquished the New York City units to The London hotel the same year.

•Market research company The NPD Group has reported that the restaurant unit count in the U.S. has declined by 9,450 restaurants in the year April 2010-March 2011, a decrease of 2%. According to NPD, 8,650 of those that closed were independent restaurants, the greatest loss of that type since the company’s census began in 2001. Quick-service restaurants decreased by 3,495 units, a 1% change, while full-service restaurants saw a 2% decrease, or 5,965 units.

•Diageo is launching a new multi-media promotional campaign for its Captain Morgan brand starting this month and ending in October. “The Captain’s Island” campaign will run mostly through the brand’s Facebook page, giving fans a chance to win a trip to a Caribbean island and $15,000. Actress Mena Suvari will help promote the campaign, which will also include television and Internet ads across 13 different markets—the U.S., Canada, U.K., Ireland, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Russia, Argentina, Mexico, Peru and Costa Rica. This campaign follows on the heels of the “To Life, Love and Loot” ad effort announced by the brand in May, featuring commercials filmed by movie director Tom Hooper.

Constellation’s Blackstone Winery brand has launched a new entry into the thriving red blend segment, a 2009 Winemaker’s Select Red Blend. The winery produced 18,300 cases of the new offering, priced at $9.99 a 750-ml. The blend is a combination of Merlot, Syrah, and Petite Sirah sourced from California vineyards in Monterey County, Paso Robles, San Benito County, and Santa Barbara County.

•Paul Wright, former chief marketing officer of Bacardi USA, has been appointed CMO of Connecticut casino resort Mohegan Sun. Wright, who headed Bacardi USA’s marketing efforts from 2008-2010, also has experience as a marketing executive with Coca-Cola, Warner Lambert and General Mills.

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