It’d Not Hurt To Dream Of An Instant Fame: The Red Lobster Case


Brands are expected to be more timely and creative in digital, especially when Beyonce gives a shout out. Here’s what to learn from the Red lobster case.

The Lessons 

It looks like most brands did not take the power of social that seriously until Beyonce changed the game this year. Not many brands were imagining they could become trending on digital platforms because of unexpected “celeb” touch and be able to react immediately. Now they know what can happen, some even got seriously grilled when endorsed unexpectedly by a celebrity for lack of knowledge on how to respond and handle the online fame moment.

There is an article “3 Lessons On How Not To Pull A Red Lobster If Beyonce Boosts Your Brand” by  JEFF BEER from 02.09.16 11:53 AM.  Mr. Beer suggests that brands come up with rules for their social media strategy for similar situations, have a reliable team available to react and stay quiet if they cannot deliver quality quickly based on the Red Lobster case. The seafood chain’s name popped in the new single “Formation” by Beyonce, which was released on February 6th of this year. Social media exploded, Red Lobster was trending, having 42,000 brand mentions in the first hour the single dropped, and everybody was impatiently waiting for a response from the company. But there was no excitement from their side.


Beyonce blew everybody’s mind with an unexpected single; the whole online world was going crazy. Among with the digital savvy population, not only celebrities like Kendall Jenner, Demi Lovato,  Sophia Bush, Zendaya, Laverne Cox, Gabrielle Union, Uzo Aduba, Mindy Kaling, but also brands like Taco Bell and SouthWest Airlines hopped on the moment and showed some hip on social within few hours. Everybody had lots of fun. But there was one response that had to go online very quickly, from Red Lobster.



What Happened at Red Lobster?

Probably, it was their digital marketers’ worst nightmare coming alive. And they were not ready for it. This situation highlights the advice from Victor Pineiro, senior vice-president of social media for Big Spaceship, who worked with YouTube, BMW, and Samsung, to have company’s unicorns ready. Unicorns, he explains, are creative and digital-savvy speaking, social media language people in the marketing team, who could handle the trending conversations and get involved immediately. It is never too much to think about “what if” scenarios with a professional digital team. In 2016 it became vital for brands to handle online conversations and keep engaged with the audience on a variety of topics. If Red Lobster had a savvy digital team, it would not face such a backlash for C- response on Beyonce’s endorsement as a reward for good sex.


I smell panic; they had such a huge chance to play it right but blew it. I find a meme from John Legend to be the most hilarious that Red Lobster could play on. It was posted hours before the first response from the company.


At the end of the day, I feel such pity for the brand. They got torn apart on social for lack of creativity and engagement with the pop culture. They were not ready for this, and the world was cruel.


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