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Red Lobster Bey trippin’ (how the chain responded to racy lyrics about them)

Red Lobster sales increase 33% (even after their mediocre response to Beyonce’s shout out in her new single “Formation”).

Changed the game with that digital drop

Beyonce pulled a Beyonce and dropped an out-of-nowhere song called “Formation” just a day before 100 million people tuned in to watch her perform the song at her half time Super Bowl 50 appearance.

The song immediately took the Internet by storm with its controversial meaning and racy lyrics, and gave one brand in particular the shout out of a lifetime. In her new song, Beyonce sings “When he —- me good I take his ass to Red Lobster, cause I slay”. I can only imagine the fans excitement at the mention of Red Lobster as they rushed to the nearest chain stuffing their face with cheddar bay biscuits.

Red Lobster does not slay…

Apparently though, according to Red Lobster’s creative response (or lack thereof), they weren’t as excited with the shout out. It took some 300,00 tweets, and a number one spot on Twitter trending for the brand to even notice they had been mentioned by the mega-star, according to an interview with the CEO, Kim Lopdrup in an interview with USA TODAY.

But even after they did notice, the marketing team fell flat in their efforts, and delivered a lackadaisical response 8 hours later tweeting…

Red Lobster’s tweet racked up thousands of retweets, becoming their most retweeted post ever. Despite that, it didn’t win over the loads of other fans who were anticipating something snarkier, and timelier.

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Have to be quicker on the draw…

I can’t blame the angry fans either, with brands like Taco Bell and other food retailers that respond almost immediately to publicity of that sort; Red Lobster dropped the ball.

Along with poor timing, the content itself could not have been strategically thought out by a marketing team. It came off rushed and oblivious; and caused some fans to demand the creative team be fired. While that may be a bit harsh, let this at least be a lesson to the team: According to the same interview in USA TODAY, Lodrup announced Red Lobster had seen a 33% increase in sales after the song’s release.

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Oh… the possibilities…

That’s right, with all things considered: poor timing, and undeveloped content, it still increased sales by 33%.

Now imagine the boom in sales had they responded an hour later rather than eight, and actually gave the fans a Bey worthy response!

I bet Red Lobster had a long staff meeting Monday morning on the importance of publicity, and a better plan for the next time someone like Beyonce (which may not happen again) gives them a shout out pre-Super Bowl weekend, when social media use is at its peak.

One thing Red Lobster has taught me (aside from how to attack cheddar “Bey” biscuits)

Let Red Lobster be the poster child of what not to do in the event your brand gets publicity, major or small. Have a strategic plan and team set in place to respond quickly and creatively at any moments notice.


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Written By

Lauren Flanigan is a Staff Writer at The American Genius, hailing from the windy hills of Cincinnati, with a degree in Marketing from the University of Cincinnati. She has escaped the hills, and currently resides in Atlanta, where you can almost always find her camping at a Starbucks strategizing on how to take over the world.

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  1. Pingback: Red Lobster is celebrating 25 years in the oddest way - The American Genius

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